Puerto Rican in origin, but living in America, Message to Venus formed in 2008 and released their first extended play in 2011. The Envelope is a well produced, grungy effort that displays a keen awareness of melody and arrangement.
‘The Show’ is our opening track, and immediately we know that we’re not to expect something to dance to! Reminiscent of the more refined grunge bands of the late 90s, we find memorable melodies and a good sense of dynamic.
‘Universal You’ is up next, continuing our polished 90s vibe. This song however has a noticeably darker feel and features a great breakdown towards the end. Prosody was evident in this song as the riffs and arrangement matched the lyrics and pulled me into the story.
‘Stripped’ feels experimental compared to the more driven guitar sound of the previous tracks. This does provide a nice contrast, especially between verse and chorus. The guitar solo at the end provides yet more interest, and also an awareness of sensitivity and melody as I can imagine it would have been easy to pull out an impressive solo that was unpleasing to the ear rather than craft what they did.
‘Change’ might be the closest we get to an upbeat song on the EP, the pulsing guitar driving us into the crash around the end of the phrases. Again a clever breakdown provides interest and demonstrates the bands musical savvy.
Ending with the acoustic track ‘Smile’ is a nice touch, especially after the driven guitars that have dominated the rest of EP. The harmonies are more present, and well placed, lifting the song in the chorus. Lyrically this song is a little perfect rhyme happy in the verses, which feels cliché to me.
This is a great EP, however I do feel like it would have been more at home if it had been released a few years earlier. While there may still be a blossoming market for this style and genre in the US, it has been a while since I’ve heard anything like it in the UK.