The Venetia Fair – Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got in Our Brain

by Joey Dussault (Journalism), published May 8th 2013

Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!

Sick-disgusting-album-coverThe Venetia Fair does not fit cleanly into any genre or scene. Perhaps it is better that way, because their brand of punky, vaudevillian, who-cares-what-you-call-it is surprisingly refreshing. Crafted by a band that was often likened to a heavier Panic! At the Disco, The Venetia Fair’s sophomore album seeks to create and carefully refine a distinctive style. The result is the amusingly campy Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got in Our Brain.

Every Thought was recorded between guitarist Mike Abiuso’s Switchbitch Studios and Steve Sopchak’s Square Studios in Syracuse, N.Y.. Sonically superior to the band’s last EP, The Pits, The Venetia Fair’s latest was tracked with live horns and strings, giving the album an organic quality that was absent from its predecessor’s synthesized instrumentation. On tracks like “The Day I Set Them Free” and “Only in the Morning,” growling trumpets and trombones provide a slight air of New Orleans jazz. In a show of stylistic diversity, the band utilizes Latin rhythms and flavors on “Bleeding a Stone” and “The Sky Came Down.” Big choruses are the common factor in every song – a shame, because the best parts of the songs tend to be the verses. Even on the more experimental tracks, the band returns to huge yet generic refrains.

The Venetia Fair’s latest is the first recorded with an altered lineup. Abuiso, originally the group’s bassist, swapped instruments with then-guitarist Mr. Chark. As evidenced by The Pits, Mr. Chark is an accomplished guitar player, and so I was skeptical about the change. However, Abuiso shows off the chops he honed as guitarist of the now-defunct New York “avant-pop” outfit Kiss Kiss, and my suspicions eased. His leads bring a level of melodic and rhythmic complexity that would otherwise be missing from the album.

The album is largely piano-driven thanks to Joe Occhiuti’s fleeting, staccato runs. Vocalist Benny Santoro finds a middle-ground between his trademark throaty yells and actual singing that is altogether less grating than his work on The Pits. Chris Constantino’s drumming fills out a tight rhythm section with bassist Mr. Chark.

Admittedly, the album is poorly named. Spastic rhythms and macabre lyrics make it clear that these guys have plenty of sick, disgusting thoughts in their collective brain – they don’t need to say so in the title to prove it, nor is it very likely that they have exhausted every one of those thoughts. The sickest, most disgusting thing about this album is the process of saying its name.

Every Thought may be a hot mess, but it is a deliberate, carefully constructed hot mess. I can’t help but feel like every time it irritates or offends, it is doing precisely what it was meant to do. This album is unapologetically gaudy. However, it is pretty clear that The Venetia Fair made exactly the album they wanted to make, and they deserve credit for that if nothing else.

Recommended Tracks: “The Day I Set Them Free,” “Bleeding A Stone,” “The Dirt Won’t Keep Your Secrets”

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