Do you remember rock ’n’ roll? Believe it or not, there was a time where instead of brooding onstage about being the last one picked during gym class, musicians were energetic entertainers and any song on an album could be a single. Toledo, Ohio’s We Are The Fury may not have even been born in the ’70s, but with their new disc Venus, they’re keeping that era’s tradition of excess, artfulness and androgyny alive—because, frankly, no one else seems to have the balls to do it.
Formed while the members were still in high school, the band—singer Jeremy Lublin, drummer Stephan Lublin, guitarist Chris Hatfield, bassist Alan Hoffar and keyboardist Todd Wehrle—weren’t content merely being hometown heroes and quickly made a name for themselves outside the Midwest. After recording their self-released EP in 2005, the band toured alongside like-minded acts like Head Automatica and embarked on high-profile festivals like Take Action and the Vans Warped Tour. And although the band’s debut EP for East West, Infinite Jest, was well-received, Jeremy stresses Venus is a more fully realized representation of the band’s sound.
“It’s definitely influenced by acts like David Bowie, Roxy Music and Queen,” Jeremy admits. “But it has a modern twist to it; we’re not trying to recreate anything.” The result is a unique amalgam of classic and modern rock that will please both fans of Bowie and the Bravery without sounding like a hackneyed version of either act. For example, “Blue Coat, Black Hair” is an upbeat pop gem that's inevitably due to be a dance hall anthem; “Close Your Eyes” is a full-blown rock ballad; and “So Physical” is one of two tracks which features guest vocals from Head Automatica frontman Daryl Palumbo.
If these descriptions sound all over the map, well, that’s sort of the point. “We definitely hate being pigeonholed,” Jeremy says. “We don’t just limit ourselves to playing to the hipster crowd or the Warped Tour kids.” Ironically, We Are The Fury could reconcile these two crowds with songs like the album’s title track, a driving 4/4 romp that revels like the modern day equivalent of “Suffragette City.” However, Jeremy is also quick to stress that like Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Venus is a complete musical statement that lacks the filler that seems commonplace these days. “On our favorite albums, every song is fun to listen to and singable, but it’s not the same thing over and over, because who wants to hear that?” he asks rhetorically. “We tried to create an album that will take you on a journey—and I hope we succeeded.”
However, like all great rock albums, it’s probably best not to overanalyze Venus. “I think above all it’s a rock n’ roll record,” Jeremy says. “When you get down to it, we’re just a rock band that plays music that you can have fun to.” So tune it in, turn it up and get ready to be blown away by one of the most refreshing rock albums of 2006. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.