The Venue


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Circa 2002 mods the Venue hark back to the glory days of the Kinks and the British Invasion with Mmhm!, adding a touch of modern-day rock punch for good measure. The Swedish five-piece kicks out quick-paced jams with a Ray Davies-like fervor that hasn't been emulated so well since Lilys' 1999 album, The 3-Way. Five vocalists harmonize shambolically on many of the tracks, with as many as four guitars providing fuzzy accompaniment. Harmonicas, drums, a bass guitar, and a tambourine round out the retro sound. One could easily be fooled into believing half the songs are early unreleased songs from the Beatles or at the very least an undiscovered Nuggets band to be added to the canon. "What's in His Head?" feels most of all like a lost Lennon/McCartney treat. "Sentimental Ode (O.D.)," "Digesting Time," and "Love Monster" complete the effect with an old-time four-track feel; whether they're demos or whether the band is playing with its audience, it's a nice touch that adds to the timeless nature of the music. Mmhm! marks the first release from the AKA wing of Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie's Bella Union label, and one can only hope that similar AKA releases will be this invigorating and refreshing.

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