Terry Sean Huxter | Norwood, MA United States | 09/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Venus Hum on the Blue Man Group Complex tour in July of 03. I had no idea what to expect. I had never heard of them. A slide showed up on the screen with the word "venushum" on it, and I waited patiently, wondering what was coming.Then something truly beautiful happened. Venus Hum hit the stage and I was in heaven. They seriously threatened to upstage the Blue Men themselves!I bought this album as soon as I could after the show. This album has more wonderful sound on it than any other I've bought in the last several years. Backed by a highly talented pair of techno-musicians, Annette Strean sings like an angel, sometimes sounding like Kate Bush, sometimes like Bjork, sometimes like nothing you've ever heard before.She has the most gorgeous and melodical voice in music today.Montana is a highly driven piece that will never leave your head.The Bells is like Venus Hum's Ode to Joy.Say good-bye to the over-rated pop divas and say hello to Venus Hum.Don't wait. Do it now.Sean."
Brock | Lubbock, TX United States | 04/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You know how it feels when you wake up one morning only to find that the world has turned into a giant Van Gogh painting, so you decide to go to the lake instead of your crappy job and you spend all day relaxing beneath a too-blue sky, smiling and dancing through the impressionist foliage? Me either. Well, there was this one time...but, nevermind about that. After listening to "Big Beautiful Sky", I get the feeling that for the members of Venus Hum, this is pretty much everyday life. And if you're in the mood for colorful, uplifting electro/pop, this CD will hit the spot with just about every track. But if that's not your thing, or if you like your Chocolate Easter Bunny dark and bittersweet, then you'll find this album severely lacking.This is life inside a daydream or fairytale, and the lyrics seem content to merely describe the scenery as it goes by - "wading in a sea of lilacs...praise you in a shroud of violets...honey running through me". Call it fluff, call it sugary cotton candy. Call it whatever, but for me, Annette's soaring voice seems to carry the melody beyond the words. I can get lost in these songs. I must to admit, though, that "Big Beautiful Sky" isn't the kind of disc I keep in my player all the time. It's one of those that I get a craving for every once in a while, and nothing else will satisfy. Sometimes I just *need* to hear "Wordless May" and it sends a shiver down my spine - or I'll be driving home from work and the upbeat "Montana" just seems perfect.Though there are plenty of driving dance beats throughout the record, the music goes well beyond the cookie-cutter techno that you're likely to hear on most radio stations these days. Actually, my favorite tracks on the disc aren't techno at all - they are the slower songs like "The Bells". That song begins innocently enough with a tiny plucked dulcimer sound...then all of the sudden, the gigantic, sweeping chorus hits you like a wave and it feels like the whole world has been swept away. Twisted and gurgling synth lines are popping in and out, running counterpoint to the the melody. A lot of it reminds me of Depeche Mode (only without the bi-polar disorder), in the way that they used a lot of separate synth lines, each doing their own thing - kind of like a synthetic orchestra. In fact, several songs on this CD might blend in rather well along side DM on your local radio station's '80s retro hour. It all sounds fresh, but there's definitely a nod or two to the classic synth pop from 20 years ago.Again, don't expect Venus Hum to deliver tragic tales of lost love, or pose burning questions about Life, The Universe and Everything. The whole point here is to simply put a smile on your face. Even when the music turns to a minor key with "Beautiful Spain", the lyrics belie the mood and re-assure us that everything is just fine in within this daydream."
What a beautiful voice!
Erica Anderson | Minneapolis, MN | 03/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in December, I was listening to Freedom Rock on a local radio station which played underground music for an hour. One of the songs I heard was "Hummingbirds" by Venus Hum. I was completely blown away by the song. Annette Strean's voice simply took my breath away. I finally found a copy of "Big Beautiful Sky" today at Cheapo Records. I bought it of course. It did not take me very long for me to fall in love with the music. I was immediately reminded of Depeche Mode with its synth-pop flavoured beats and the gorgeous voice of Annette Strean who at times reminded me a lot like Bjork. The results is an irresistably catchy electro-synth-pop album. I especially enjoyed the first two tracks "Hummingbirds" and "Montana", especially the latter song. I couldn't help hum along to "Montana". All the songs on the cd are of quality and deserving to be heard. Annette Strean has the voice of an angel. Just listen to "Wordless May" and you will know what I am saying. Too bad radio is clogged up with bland pop/rock songs that are played way too many times. Radio needs to start playing artists and bands that don't fit the mold like Venus Hum for example. It is amazing what one song played on the radio can do to a band like Venus Hum. I wouldn't have known about them had I not heard "Hummingbird" back in December."
A MUST for fans of Depeche Mode, Bjork and/or Madonna
David Ryan Phalen | Plano, TX | 04/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who has heard Venus Hum is already familiar with their extremely accessible, electro soul-pop barrage, and this new work should serve to convert quite a few new fans, especially if it receives the attention it deserves. Drawing influence from some of the most talented and innovative electronic musicians of all time, they also bring in the vintage touch of mid-twentieth century Musical Theatre vocal stylings (as sung by Annette Strean, who arguably has one of the most beautiful voices in modern music), creating a powerfully unique and emotionally infectious mixture. While certain comparisons (Bjork, Depeche Mode, etc.) are definitely merited, in truth, Venus Hum covers such broad musical territory that no such influence remains dominant for more than a song or two, resulting in an extremely pleasant variety that lends the album as a whole a very strong level of relistenability. Big Beautiful Sky also contains many new songs that had previously only been heard at the band's critically acclaimed live shows.
Among these are the quirky yet intense "Beautiful Spain," and the undeniably powerful crowd-pleasers "Bella Luna" and "The Bells". Song after song, Venus Hum prove that they, beyond any shadow of a doubt, KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Very rarely does a band with such consistent and impressive work come along, especially one that has the ability to satisfy both casual, radio-oriented listeners as well as more critical, art-minded listeners.
Their talent is immediately obvious, and if there is any justice in the world,
it will become immediately obvious to many new fans in many countries.
So do yourself, Venus Hum, and the current state of music a favour, and pick up a copy of Venus Hum's Big Beautiful Sky."
scottfeldstein | waukesha, WI United States | 12/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to force myself not to infinite loop this album. It's that good. I'm not an electronic music afficionado or anything. I have a BT album and two Delerium albums and that's pretty much it. Incidentally, if you love this record you'll also absolutely love Frou Frou's "Details." Conversely, if you love Frou Frou you'll probably like this, too. Exquisite voices, beautifully textured electronic music... big winners, both."