"PCP" opens with Let The Feelings Go, an up tempo rock song with precision drumming by Chris, a Rocket Queen (Guns N' Roses) style breakdown, great melodic and edgy vocals by J that would make the AXL Rose of recent years very jealous, and the first of many good guitar solos by Marcello.
After the first song I was a little worried that this would be another rock CD with no sense of dynamics, one up tempo song after another, which isn't the worst thing if that's what your band is good at, but then I was treated to a nice surprise with the second song Happy Here. The energy and flavor of a rock and roll song in the form of a ballad. Not the kind of ballad that depresses you and makes you want to lock yourself in the bathroom for the remainder of the night, but the kind of ballad that makes you feel like everything will be alright.
Invisible is the next song, and another nice suprise. Invisible shows that "PCP" is not just a "throwback" record using the same old chord changes that bands relied on as part of a "formula" for chart success in the days of a rock domination.
After loving the first three songs, the rest of the songs on "PCP" are as expected, one good rockin' song after another. Even the ballads rock, go figure.
Mean Venus mentions some of their influences in their bio, but the one that I didn't understand was Alice In Chains, until I got to the song A Vision, where J's vocals, in some parts, would make you swear that Layne Staley made a guest appearance on the record, and Marcello would make you believe that Jerry Cantrell was there to back Layne up.
To hold the songs on "PCP" together you need a great rock drummer, and Chris is just that. He sounds like he subscribes to the "less is more" "four on the floor" school of drumming, which I always admired about drummers like Matt Sorum (The Cult, Guns N' Roses, and Velvet Revolver), and, of course, John Bonham.
Mean Venus really understands the songwiriting process for hard rock music. You can tell they have studied, maybe just by listening, to the songs that made bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Guns N' Roses so great. The choruses are catchy, the breakdowns are exactly where they should be, and the guitar solos are in all the right places and very well executed by Marcello, often sounding like Slash.
There is no doubt in my mind, that if this was still the era of rock dominatioin, they would be opening for, and touring with, bands like Guns N' Roses, Skid Row, and Dangerous Toys. The unfortunate thing for them, and us, is that we don't live in those times anymore, and rock these days comes in the form of high school kids with pleasant dispositions, and good public behavior.
I think "PCP" is a really good record, but if you still aren't sure if its worth the time to check out, forget everything I wrote, and ask yourself : Do I really want to miss a CD with lyircs like "God get me out of this one, and I won't get drunk again." "God get me out of this one, and I won't get high again?" If you can't relate to those lyrics, this might not be the band for you.
Mean Venus also recently released a single called "Crazy Ass American", which answers the question: Where did the "rock" from Kid Rock disappear to?
Mean Venus has your rock right here!
Visit Mean Venus at: http://www.meanvenus.com/ to learn more about the band, and to pick up some copies of "PCP' and "Crazy Ass American"