“Could I kiss you at midnight, and we could hang out sometime?” Venus In Leo is the long-awaited fourth album from Melbourne’s HTRK (I’m not new to this band by any means, but I feel like I should let you know, dear reader, that I pronounce it "H-T-R-K," not “Hate Rock” like some other people in the Lab office and probably the band members themselves). Venus In Leo is a return to the guitar-based sound of the intoxicating Work, Work, Work LP but incorporates the dubby microbeats and cosmic atmosphere that made Psychic 9-5 so easy to drink. It seems the band have absorbed the expertise lent to Psychic 9-5 by producer Nathan Corbin (Zebrablood, Blazer Sound System, Excepter) and cracked on without missing a beat. The sense of space in these tracks is astounding; it’s like each part’s been meticulously carved down to its essence, hung to dry and reassembled in a vacuum. It’s all draped in Jonnine Standish’s syrupy, sobering, no-bullshit vocals - the magic ingredient in HTRK’s sound. Imagine my delight to find both “Mentions” and “Dying Of Jealousy” here, two amazing singles which were teased what seems like ages ago… I only thing I could want for is that their B-sides be included (alright, let’s not get greedy!). Other highlights are “Dream Symbol,” the fatalistic “New Year’s Day” and tender coda “New Year’s Eve,” and the title track. Venus In Leo feels like a very grown-up album for a band that’s been through a hell of a lot of shit in 16 years (moving continents twice, the suicide of founding member Sean Stewart) with a lot to reflect on, and we’re eternally grateful for the privilege to bear witness to it. Limited edition 'sage-in-clear' variant, housed in gatefold jacket with full album lyrics and download code, highly recommended.
- sage-in-clear colored vinyl pressing
- housed in gatefold jacket with spot gloss accents
- digital download included
- limited edition
- music label: Ghostly International 2019
reviewed by laughable butane bob 09/2019