Now it's 2000, and no one WANTS US ANYMORE!That's the main line in "The Losing End Of Punk," track 3 from Swedish skate-punkers Venerea's third full-length. Five years and one album later, (with another on the way) it appears that someone indeed does want them: Bad Taste Records to be exact. These four guys have toured their collective arse off after all, so, despite being "tired of playing the same chord cycle over and over again" do they actually have anything to offer in this day and age?
I like this CD. True enough, I've already mentioned the dreaded 'S' word, and I imagine most reading this are thinking "yeah yeah, skate punk. Heard it all before, and years ago too. Next." Whilst I can't really argue there, I can tell anyone still caring this is a decent effort. The album opens with a Bad Religion-solo style intro, similar to "I Want To Conquer The World" and, like that song, is actually rather good, albeit not possessing the most memorable vocals in the world. In fact, I would say that same lack of catchy choruses is what holds Venerea back here. Not to say there isn't any, it's just there are some real duds on here. Case in point: "(Boring) Boring (Bored)." If you are going to write a song about one's hatred of boredom, why in the world would one want to make it...boring? I really got the impression this song was written in five minutes. It's mostly the singer talking about boring things over palm muted chords. Gah?
However, the better songs, namely "The Losing End Of Punk," "Tabula Rasa", "A Pat On The Back," "Dunno" and "Back To The Start" don't bore me in the slightest...call me simple, but these 5 songs are way better than the other songs, where the emphasis seems to be on different, but ultimately unimpressive riffs. When Venerea get it right, you'll hear skate punk like you remember it; sometimes fast, sometimes slower, but never lacking energy and choruses worthy of a good sing along. Just straight ahead, loud feel good tunes. (Especially the album's closer, "Back To The Start," which is just superb; one of those songs which hits you straight away with full on melody and energy.)
If this was an EP I would actually heavily recommend this; they do have something to offer. However, what we are left with here is a CD with some great moments unfortunately outweighed by the forgettable ones. Maybe Venerea knew that when naming this CD; if that's the case, expect their new CD to be a huge gain in ground and easily worthy of a purchase; for now, this is one worth picking up on the (very) cheap. If you're into this sort of thing.