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Album Review: To Cure A Blizzard Upon A Plastic Sea by Vennart

Vennart release their new album To Cure A Blizzard Upon A Plastic Sea’ on 14th September via Medium Format. The brainchild of former Oceansize and British Theatre front man and current Biffy Clyro live guitarist Mike Vennart the album is a varied and ambitious slab of alt rock going from pop rock to prog rock and everything in between. The record was produced by Mike Vennart and Steve Durose, once again features former Oceansize colleagues Steve Durose and Richard ‘Gambler’ Ingram alongside powerhouse drummer Denzel.

From Mike Vennart on the album – “It’s about Mindfulness, Madness and Magic. The bulk of the ideas of the record came from a pretty rubbish Japanese toy from the 70s called an Omnichord. The sound of it isn’t really interesting, but it coughed out the chord sequences of my dreams, taking my songwriting to places there’s no way I could’ve ever done so alone. Some of the words and the grooves are in homage to my love of my adopted home of Manchester. One of the songs has a definite baggy vibe, albeit one through a filter of someone who loves Iron Maiden.”

Clocking in at just under an hour and with ten tracks there’s plenty of scope here for you to enter the strange and ever-changing textures. While there are some poppy moments, see ‘Spider Bones’, this is more of a grower – an album that evolves with each listen and different, subtle nuances come to the fore.

Opener ‘Binary’ starts of with the feel of a gradual post-rock track before turning into a stomping and triumphant alt rock track around the four-minute mark. The fuzzed-up guitars are delicious. ‘Donkey Kong’ has all the gusto of an anthemic rock track whilst having enough textures and progressions to turn it into something grander. Lead single ‘Immortal Soldier’ is the sound of Mike Vennart doing what he wants regardless of expectation, lyrically Vennart tackles his thoughts on plastic, “As I grow older, I’m desperately aware and incredibly phobic of plastic itself; every time a new action figure comes in to the house, I think that’s another thing that’s just taking up space on this planet and will always be here no matter what. These little guys are going to outlive us all for thousands and thousands of years.” Somehow it comes out as one of the poppiest and most immediate track on the album.

‘Into The Waves’ is a delicately beautiful ballad before ‘Friends Don’t Owe’ explores Vennarts knack for a hook and guitar extravagance. The bassline here is especially sumptuous. The stomping pop rock of ‘Spider Bones’ is an accessible opening whilst ‘Sentientia’ seems to channel grandiose Scandinavian metal through keyboards and an alt rock filter.

‘That’s Not Entertainment’ is a quiet lament that oozes emotion, give it a couple of listens and it begins to shine bright as one of the best tracks on the album. If you thought that was good, ‘Diamond Ballgag’ blows it out of the water with its forthright guitars exploding in a wall of emotion playing the perfect counterpart to the quieter more reflective moments. ‘Robots In Disguise’ with it’s Transformers reference closes the album in ambitious style. Grand and indulgent it summarises the feel of the album – fuck expectations, this is what I want to do – without being over-indulgent.

AD Rating 7.5/10

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