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The Leeds riot grrls blow the proverbial roof off with their debut EP.
Published: 14/11/2020   Author: Meg Campbell
Photo: Venus members, Jess, Hannah, GK, Gabby, Grace. Courtesy of Kayleigh Hinsley.
April 3rd 2020 brought us Wicked Things, the debut EP from Leeds rockers, Venus. The 5-piece all girl band have been a force to be reckoned with since their formation, as they’ve strived to promote equality and the inclusion of women in the alternative scene. Their feminist beliefs and Riot Grrrl ideologies shine through everything they do, making their music feel all the more special, and their shows feel like safe places. These girls won’t be ignored, and they use their ever-growing platform to amplify the voices of those who often go unheard.

So far in their very promising career, Venus have performed alongside notable bands such as Bloxx, All Time Low, and Anteros, and have released  a number of electrifying singles such as Deranged, Sour, and Freaky Friday. Their tracks so far all have the theme of unapologetic honesty and emotion, played in such a way which just feels empowering to listen to. I believe they’ve carried this theme through to Wicked Things.

The EP begins with the high-energy song, No Signs, which picks you up and sweeps you away on the journey with them. In this song, which follows the theme of rejection and being torn down by someone you once trusted, vocalist, Grace Kelly, shows an incredible amount of skill, singing with a huge amount of passion and emotion. Her performance brings up phenomenal high notes, which feel like the embodiment of raising frustrations, shaking in rage which feels so powerful it could cause the earth to shake, but she never misses a note of goes off key. The intense guitar track is a driving force, creating an empowering sense of urgency. One could imagine charging forward towards your enemies, ready to take down those who have wronged you to this track. Another standout element of this track is the synth-like siren sounds, which ring out, adding to that intensity and urgency. It’s the literal alarm in your head that warns you when someone is toxic, letting you know it’s time to remove yourself from their hold. This absolutely holds up as an opening track. It’s an absolute banger that you can’t help but find yourself dancing along to.
Photo: by Kayleigh Hinsley.

Then, we have a shift in tone as the sound quiets, and we hear the whistle of the wind, which opens the song, Amy. The effect of this wind makes you feel like you’re in a desolate place, with the subtle darkness in the tone of the lone guitar playing it’s melody making you stand to attention as you feel out this new territory. Then we have the synth added to the track, which seems to merge with the wind without overpowering it, so that they’re one. The music is now a part of the surroundings, the atmosphere, the very air you breathe.

I have a deep love for songs which gradually add elements to build up the timbre and sound, and Venus have done this absolutely beautifully. There’s a sense of reverence in this song. Everything feels like everything, every note, every steady drum beat, is placed meticulously and performed with the upmost care and respect, without ever feeling stiff or robotic. In fact, the vocals, though caring, feel as free and boundless as the wind. They’re the impassioned prayer being cried into the spiritual void the instrumentation has created around us.

When the sound is at it’s fullest, you feel as though you’ve been caught on a wave and swooped into a storm of passion. Your heart races, and you can feel the raw emotion in each band member’s performance. Then, we have softness, light, and the wind again. It never left us, but now it feels more like a friend than a reminder of the emptiness of the world we’re in.

The EP picks up again with the highly catchy song, You’re Alright, I Guess. This track has an undeniably cool feel. There’s gritty rhythm guitar tracks and classic-feeling wailing guitar melodies accompanied by some really groovy bass lines, which creates something that’s unbelievably badass. As soon as this song begins it feels like a party is starting, and there’s nothing one-note about it. The drumming really stood out to me in this track. I like that we start with a steady beat from the hi-hats, giving texture to the sound, and then we’re teased with a tumble of heavy drumbeats in small doses, building up the excitement and energy, before going all in with the track. This was a really effective way to hype up the track gradually and keep the listeners on their toes, and drummer, Gabby Cooke, composed her parts beautifully. For me, You’re Alright, I Guess, just oozes power and style. This is the kind of song you’d go into battle to, and it’s the perfect track to end this EP on because you’re left on the high that this track gives you.

I can’t recommend Wicked Things highly enough. These are three cohesive songs, which still stand out as unique works of art. This EP is exciting, fresh, and empowering to listen to. Every song charms you, invites you into its story, and takes you on a journey, and that’s exactly what good music should do. The raw emotion, skill, and passion that went into creating Wicked Things is undeniable and makes it all the more thrilling.

If you’re looking for a soundtrack to smash the patriarchy to, this is it. I can’t wait to see what Venus do next.

Listen to Venus on Spotify or Apple Music.



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