Hi Fi Automatic
Venus & Mars

Issue #31                                                                                                                 Sept. '01

Venus & Mars by Hi Fi Automatic thrust me back to 1975…

“Sitting in the stand of the sports arena,
waiting for the show to begin.
Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine,
A good friend of mine, follows the stars,
Venus & Mars
Are alright tonight”

Yes they are, only its not McCartney and Wings and this disc has no similarity to that classic LP except for the fact that it produces some of the most Grandiose Rock on the scene at this time. In ‘75 McCartney awed the music scene (as he did in ‘73 with Band on the Run – which some would argue was superior to V&M, but not in these eyes) with an LP of diverse Rock written with such depth of instrumentation that it captured the attention of the culture waiting for the show to begin…

Keith Ryan (aka Hi Fi Automatic) has written a masterful album of music and then assembled some of the finest talent that can be found in New Haven, CT (and believe me, the amount of talent that can be found in and around the New Haven region nowadays is simply amazing enough for me to be able to say that it has all the makings of a scene, and that this scene is so diverse that it makes the head spin) and recorded a disc that encaptures the spirit of all the cultures that embrace music as their salvation…

Picture Bono and The Edge playing for The Waterboys (and if you’re not up on The Waterboys - shame on you! Go pick up Fisherman’s Blues or This Is The Sea); a refinely powerful attack with production as smooth and silky as the Eno/Lanois/Lillywhite produced The Joshua Tree. This music was born, bred and made for music fans; its creation is rooted in the red lights and green lights of our lives and allows us to get entangled in the joys of artistic expression.

About the only thing missing from these 12 songs are printed lyrics. I would like to get more swallowed up in them, as I find them to be provocative in conjuring images that defy definition as well as unbelievably exploring inner reaches to the point where the music gives the lyrics a life of their own; The opening track “Seems I’ve Been Late” takes on the ethereal trip of a man whose questions of life are drawn from situations which cause him to flee (I think). The thing here is, we flee along with him because of the dramatic use of the instrumentation and vocals (especially the hurting howling of them). This CD is filled with songs like this; songs that not only sport enough hooks to keep your head a buzz for days at a time but make you visualize the intensity of the artists performing them.

Some good examples of such can be found in: the subtle Ghost-echo backing vocal used in “In Your Room” where the up front production of every instrument adds to the effect in a stunning manner and Dean Falcone’s guitar playing rings every possible drop of David Gilmore. Or, the soaring refrain of “Wonderlust” that thrusts us into “the world beyond” I believe. Then there is the down & dirty rhythm that defies ethics and gives “I Have Faith” a different approach to the hard road of life. “Beale Street” with its shattering rendition of a lost life uses Ryan and Falcone’s acoustic and electric guitar playing as the catalyst, and the explosive drumming of Scott MacDonald to propel us deep within a musical wall of human emotion so big in scope that it is beyond words.

Big playing, sweeping broad arrangements, full instrumentation, soul-searching lyrics and a crisp and energetic production makes Venus & Mars by Hi Fi Automatic an instant Classic.”

Yes this Disc takes us not on a trip, but several, and on several levels. It allows our inner sanctum to escape, mingle and explore.
To follow the stars,
Venus & Mars
Are alright tonight.

Venus & Mars by Hi Fi Automatic
is available now for $9.98 +s/h*
$5.98 +s/h*

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