The other day, a friend pointed out that the late '90s are the new early '80s, that for every Modest Mouse and French Kicks there's a dozen bands who sound just like them—and that's just in Southern California. And he's right. But before you leap to the but-that's-always-been-the-case, bands-rip-off-bands, it's-what-they-do defense, consider that the gap between this generational regurgitation is getting smaller by the year. Where the Strokes ripped off the '60s and '70s, the Killers ripped off the '80s, and now you have bands like Venus Infers, who draw a smidge more than just a tad heavily from Blonde Redhead. It's problematic, not just for bands but also for music fans: In a few months, will there even be time for inspiration? Or will everything just sound like one continuous mix of My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco? Hope not. Still, it should at least be noted that when Venus Infers (Davis Fetter on instruments, Trish Smith on vocals) do Blonde Redhead, they do it very well, with Trish's sky-high coos weaving in and out of Davis' pretzel riffs on the vaguely dance-ish "e minor, not Eminor" and "Broken Clocks," and most effectively on the slow closer "Imaginary Friends." Elsewhere, though—like the plodding, numbing "Vanilla Is (The Absence of Chocolate)"—the whole package becomes entirely predictable and, unfortunately, ignorable. Ultimately, you're left wondering what might happen if Venus Infers ditched the past and pushed their obvious talents into less-trodden terrain—you know, just took a break and put down the iPod? It's advice we probably all could use.
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