Venice - 'Jacaranda Street'

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Venice - 'Jacaranda Street'

For any fans of West Coast music in general, I cannot recommend this album highly enough.

The surname Lennon in the music world will always be synonymous with The Beatles, but Venice (the band named after their Southern Californian hometown) have a "Fab Four" all of their own; two sets of brothers, Mark (lead vocals) and Michael Lennon (guitars/bass/keys/vocals), and their cousins Kipp (lead vocals) and Pat Lennon (guitars/vocals). Additional musicians appearing on 'Jacaranda Street' are long-term cohorts Mark Harris (bass) and Andre Kemp (drums/percussion). There is simply nowhere near enough word limit to explain who these talented musicians have played with over the years.

'Jacaranda Street' is their twenty-first release and the acoustic-driven title-track kicks off the album with a tale of a son remembering his mother's life. Kipp Lennon takes lead vocals on this one, and he and Mark Lennon interchange lead vocal duties throughout. My personal favourite cut is 'My Love Waits For Me' and it embodies everything that's special about Venice, particularly the stunning harmonies. Despite being likened to The Beach Boys, the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash, they have a signature sound all of their own. The first-class production is courtesy of Michael Lennon, whilst the mastering was handled by Dave Donnelly (no relation to me!). You will not hear a better produced (not to be confused with over-produced) release this year.

'Stepping On That Bridge' has a Paul McCartney vibe and showcases what wonderful wordsmiths they are; the song segues seamlessly into '27th Avenue' but still changes direction musically. 'Something Took You Over' could have easily been written by/for the Eagles as it's truly that good! All but two of the tracks were composed by the Lennons with Kemp and Harris, the exceptions being the quirky yet fantastic 'Object Unidentified' and the excellent 'Under The Surface' which were penned by John Vester and Dan Gillen respectively.

Further proof of their superb lyrics and melodies can be found in 'The Lavender Lighter' (a song about a cigarette lighter), the poignant 'Middle Age Lullaby' (which will strike a chord with most of our writers and some of our readers), 'How Do We Do This Alone' and 'What If We Found We' (a track about internet dating).

If you're already a fan, then this is another must-buy and it is unquestionably my favourite record of theirs since 1997's sublime 'Born And Raised' For any fans of the aforementioned super-groups and West Coast music in general, I cannot recommend this album highly enough.
Mark Donnelly

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