After the demise of the Wonder Stuff in 1994, lead singer Miles Hunt went on to form Vent 414 with drummer Pete Howard and bassist Morgan Nicholls. The band went into the studio to record their self-titled debut album with producer Steve Albini, a clear sign that this band was to sound significantly different from the spirited pop/rock of the Wonder Stuff, and it delivers on that promise. Albini's stamp is all over this release, from the fractured shards of guitar to the unpolished, almost primal vocals from Hunt. The songs on the album have more in common with Ten-era Pearl Jam and early-'90s American grunge than with mid-'90s Brit-pop, a scene in which Hunt's old band could've easily squeezed into. This wouldn't be all that bad, though, if Vent 414 were at all interesting. Instead, only rarely do they stumble across an interesting song (the cinematic opening ballad "Fixer" is okay, as is the tense "Easy to Talk"), while the majority of the songs fail to stand out at all, even on repeated listens. Vent 414 is clearly the sound of Hunt trying to experiment, trying to get as far away as possible from the slick pop on the final Wonder Stuff album, but instead he created an album that fans will not likely enjoy and that few others will even know about. An Albini/Hunt pairing sounds interesting on paper, but Vent 414 is evidence that it didn't work.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Damas