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Venice - 'Electric: Live & Amplified' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e8/0f/54/595_VeniceElectricLiveAndAmplified_1285097555.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 21, 2010    
 
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West Coast inspired melodic rock doesn’t get any better than this.

It is now twenty years since Venice released their self-titled major label debut album, subsequent to which they have taken control of their own recording destiny with an impressive catalogue of studio, garage and live releases. And yet in many territories the band’s expertly and hugely enjoyably executed brand of melodic rock and trademark four-part harmonies remains largely undiscovered. The Netherlands is one country that has taken the band to heart and this latest live album was recorded on the band’s most recent tour of that country.

Not only has the band crammed as much music as is technically possible onto a CD, they have selected fourteen tracks from right across their recorded canon, and even managed to include a fifteenth – the marvellous, rocking ‘High So High’ that makes its debut here. Indeed, one of the avowed intentions when reviewing the possible material for inclusion here was to present the harder edge to the band’s live performances, that has perhaps, not been successfully captured previously. It has to be remarked that in this respect, ‘Electric’ is a definite success, and astute ears have clearly helped to guide producer Michael Lennon into achieving the desired result.

The opening quartet of ‘The Water’, ’Bleeding’, ‘Circus In Town’ and ‘My Woman’ provide a rousing introduction to the warm harmonies and finely crafted, intelligent and frequently emotional songs (stylistically think the Eagles, CS&N, Steely Dan…) for which Venice is renowned. The debut album is represented here by two absolute classics: ‘Pushed Her Too Far’ and ‘All My Life’ which is expanded into a near 10-minute tour de force that includes tributes to the Stones, U2 and Fleetwood Mac. This is very special - as is the definitive performance of ‘Baby’s Calling’ another song that has been in the repertoire for over a decade and is both vocally and instrumentally a complete triumph here. I must also give special mention to ‘Think Again’ and ‘Evolve’ two of the more recent songs – the latter being one of the two writing collaborations with Charlie Vaughn here, and which was debuted on the band’s previous (acoustic) live album.

West Coast inspired melodic rock doesn’t get any better than this, and if you are still to experience the simply fabulous vocal harmonies of Mark, Kipp, Pat and Michael Lennon this live gem really is an excellent place to start. Prospective purchasers should note that 'Electric: Live & Amplified' is exclusively available through www.venicecentral.com.

Paul Jerome Smith

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