Jim Santo's Demo Universe

Clara Venus - EP

Not to belabor the maudlin connection, but this NYC band's demo was postmarked September 10, 2001, the day before, well, you know. In my mind's eye, I imagine CV guitarist John Crider dropping off a batch of these CDs at his local P.O., his heart full of excitement and optimism...ah well. This is a terrific EP, doing proud the "tradition of Television, Replacements and Flaming Lips," as cited on their web site, a slice of cyberspace as artfully crafted as the songs themselves."An amalgamation of the bombast of the Stooges and AC/DC and the songcraft of Paul Westerberg and Frank Black," the band suggests, doing a passable job of doing my job. All too often, Westerberg's name is invoked as an excuse for besotted shouting; in the case of Clara Venus, the Mats man should be pleased by the comparison. Producers Michael Tudor (Duncan Sheik) and Chris Feinstein (Iodine) grace the band with a cracking good recording; crisp, punchy and dark-hued, giving ample sonic room to emotive vocalizing (love the Dylanesque "Don't Answer The Telephone") and Crider's vivid soloing.

CD received September 10, 2001