Venera 4 is a shoegaze/dream pop quartet from Paris. Since my post about Future the other day, I’ve been on a “French shoegaze” kick. I don’t know how long it’ll continue, but that’s what I’m doing right now.
The band’s bio describes them in a perfect way:
Two boys, two girls, meeting in noisy pop songs with a delicate sense of color… and darkness
The band named itself after the Soviet space mission to Venus. The Venera 4 craft was really important because it was the first man-made craft to successfully land on another planet. It was the late 1960s, and the USA and USSR were locked in a hotly contested space race. Venera 4 was launched on June 12, 1967 and it reached the surface of Venus on October 18. Almost simultaneously, the NASA mission Mariner 5 was sent to do a fly-by of Venus. Mariner 5 was launched on June 14 and reached the Venusian atmosphere on October 19. The Venera 4 stopped transmitting data shortly after it landed, but it still told us that the atmosphere was much denser and the surface was much hotter than we thought. The Soviets achieved a lot of “firsts” in the race to the moon, but they lost the race to have a successful manned mission to the moon. They stayed ahead of the USA with the success of their Venera missions. In the 1970s, the Soviets also achieved many firsts in the race to Mars, even though NASA’s missions have been more significant.
This is more than I’ve written about space missions since that time I wrote about Laika. While I enjoy writing about and reading about space missions, I’m not qualified for that. I’m not qualified to write about music either, but that’s not stopping me.
Anyway, Venera 4 has released a few singles, this Deaf Hearts EP and a “Winter Sessions” demo of unplugged versions of their songs. You should first introduce yourself to their “real” songs, and then listen to the acoustic stuff.
This is one of my favorites:
“Ash & Gray” by Venera 4
My absolute favorite part of the song is that bit at 3:05 when they take a page out of the JAMC book by using that iconic drum beat used in The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”. It’s only in today’s song for a few seconds. In the bridge to the final chorus. It’s sort of brilliant.
In a bigger picture, I love the swirling, heavy noise. I love the flanger/phaser effect. I love the mayhem.