Venus Fly Trap (VFT) - "Icon" Reviews
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The Venus Fly Trap
Alex Novak - Vox
Andrew Denton - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals & Programing

Additional Players
Paul Cox - Backing Vocals (Track 8,9), 12 String (Track 9)
Nathan Bundy - Additional Keyboards (Track 4,6)
Sylvie Denton - Spoken Word (Track 1,2)
Anthony Denton - Spoken Word/Backing Vox (Track 1,9)
Martin Bowes - The Exterminator

Music by A.Denton/Lyrics by A.Novak
© Venus Fly Trap 2018

Pete Sargent - Pulse-Alternative Magazine UK

THE
VENUS FLY TRAP 'Icon' (Glass Records, 2018)

New album from the wonderfully eclectic Venus Fly Trap, a band who have been defying easy categorisation for 30 years. They are one of those few bands, like PiL or Killing Joke,who have a sound that is constantly evolving but nevertheless remains easily identifiable.

Eight years in gestation 'Icon' has proved worth the wait but a word to the curious: spinning this album is like looking in a kaleidoscope with the sound fracturing in different directions. Open with the infamous Warhol quote: “Everybody will be famous for 15 minutes” it's typical of the bands modus operandi as the sound washes over you flooding your mind with cinematic visions. It's a trip without hallucinogenics. Lead single 'Vitesse' is the natural successor to Iggy Pop's 'The Passenger' as Venus Fly Trap invite you to ride pillion through a dystopian Blade Runner cityscape. 'Voodoo Voodoo' belies vocalist Alex Novak's punk roots with some Lydon-esque singing complemented by some fine chunky guitar from Andy Denton and some unorthodox time changes keep the listener on their toes.

As leading proponents of dark wave electronica Venus Fly Trap always veer to the darker side of life and chronicle an acid casualty on 'Flashback'. 'Return of the Sidewinder' with an offbeat reggae vibe is the perfect homage to fellow Northamptonians Bauhaus. They're a band they share a certain similarity in so far as they draw influence from a myriad of sources: dub, psych and funk and here they both exist under Bela Lugosi's shadow. In opposition 'Genesis of the Daleks' steps out into the light, it's bright and breezy and is the kind of left turns and side steps that keeps 'Icon' such a compulsive listen. 'Puppet' nods to Philip K. Dick and the band really capture something of that authors paranoia and discombobulation.

'Icon' is a welcome return from Venus Fly Trap and it's the kind of album that'll keep rewarding you on repeat listen

The Venus Fly Trap - Icon Reviewed by: Pete Sargent

June 7th 2018 19:20

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Phil Istine- Newboots

THE
VENUS FLY TRAP 'Icon' (Glass Records, 2018)

Much like their beloved Dr Who, it’s been a long, strange, bewildering trip for Northampton’s long-term purveyors of dark wave. Formed in 1986 as a trio from the ashes of their other projects by Novak brothers Alex and John, they rose phoenix-like to be a central part of the local scene of the late-80s [and you can read all about those early days in the latest, fourth, instalment of the Have Guitars…Will Travel book series]. Fifteen or so ex-members later and the last three albums have been the work of core duo Alex Novak and Andy Denton. Indeed Icon completes their trilogy that began with Zenith in 2004 and continued with Nemesis in 2011.

This record is probably the strongest of the trio, taking all the ideas explored so far and crystallising them into short, sharp, energised songs. If you are unfamiliar with the music, then imagine a PiL-like band playing Taffey Lewis’ bar in the original Blade Runner film. A sound rooted in the dark wave/electronica sounds that emerged post post-punk, but one that isn’t confined only to that world. Dystopian sci-fi rock from Northampton means everything from Bauhaus to The Cramps, The Stooges to Sisters of Mercy. The VFT sound is instantly recognisable, but never falls into the trap of being too repetitive. Indeed, after the scene-setting instrumental title track that pulses with film dialogue, each of the remaining eight tracks could be pulled off the album and released as a single. The one track that already has been, ‘Vitesse’ [see below], is pure Blitz kids synth-pop with a memorable hook placed above the motorik underbelly, whilst Novak mixes up his automobile and love interest metaphors to great effect.

The love theme continues on the crunchy ‘Voodoo Voodoo’ and the cinematic ‘Flashback’, both which revel in the VFT interest in the psychedelic. The characters within this pair reveal themselves more and more on each playback, as you catch new parts of the story. The middle of the album is dominated by the slightly epic ‘Deadly Nightshade’, which warms of the dangers in human relationships, where you can find “instant karma in the perfumed garden”. The track is the most sonically pleasing on Icon, as it transforms from beatific to angry and back again continually on its six minute journey.

‘Return of the Sidewinder’ kicks off a trio of culturally-referencing tunes. This song, named after a 1968 TV episode, gives nods to fellow Midlands heavyweights: Bauhaus in the lyrics, and The Specials in the ‘Ghost Town’-esque musical pallete of smokey dub reggae. ‘The Genesis Of The Daleks’, meanwhile, was a 1975 Dr Who series, and the Delia Derbyshire-indebted opening gives way to post-punk guitars and throbbing synth patterns. The song is surely a love letter to those childhoods that were both scarred and enlivened by existential television dramas.

‘Puppet’ seems to take the lead from ’50s pulp fiction from Philip K. Dick, but this time taking the music in another direction into dream pop. It’s a tender lullaby – well it would be if the intonation of Novak [“you’re just my puppet”] wasn’t quite so unsettling. Icon finishes with ‘In The Moonlight’: a Paisley Underground-style acid-folk slow waltz with a Hammond organ dominating the canvas, and some superb background harmonies that drifts us ever farther away from the darkwave idea from whence they came. It’s a fitting ending to a formidable album that, if it is to be their swansong, sees them very much go out on a high.

The Venus Fly Trap - Icon Reviewed by: Phil Istine

June 25th 2018

Newboots

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Icon Album - Venus Fly Trap (VFT) UK Band with Alex Novak, Andy Denton Drums, Andy Denton Guitar, Andy Denton Programming, Glass Modern Records 2018, Northampton, Darkwave,Icon
Vitesse, Voodoo Voodoo, Flashback, Deadly Nightshade, Return of the Sidewinder, The Genesis of the Daleks, Puppett, In the Moonlight. Icon Album - Venus Fly Trap (VFT) UK Band with Alex Novak, Andy Denton Drums, Andy Denton Guitar, Andy Denton Programming, Glass Modern Records 2018, Northampton, Darkwave, Icon, Vitesse, Voodoo Voodoo, Flashback, Deadly Nightshade, Return of the Sidewinder, The Genesis of the Daleks, Puppett, In the Moonlight.Icon Album - Venus Fly Trap (VFT) UK Band with Alex Novak, Andy Denton Drums, Andy Denton Guitar, Andy Denton Programming, Glass Modern Records 2018, Northampton, Darkwave,Icon, Vitesse, Voodoo Voodoo, Flashback, Deadly Nightshade, Return of the Sidewinder, The Genesis of the Daleks, Puppett, In the Moonlight. Icon Album - Venus Fly Trap (VFT) UK Band with Alex Novak, Andy Denton Drums, Andy Denton Guitar, Andy Denton Programming, Glass Modern Records 2018, Northampton, Darkwave, Icon, Vitesse, Voodoo Voodoo, Flashback, Deadly Nightshade, Return of the Sidewinder, The Genesis of the Daleks, Puppett, In the Moonlight.