Anatomical Venus (New Heavy Sounds), the third album from doomy Stoner Rock outfit Black Moth is the sort of album that can get those usually jaded rock critics very excited indeed. It has a number of leitmotifs that tick the proverbial boxes of listeners who tend to like their records to tick their proverbial boxes. If you think there is a “but” coming you’d be right as, for all the effort and invention, Anatomical Venus resolutely remains the sum of its parts. And that, somewhat disappointingly, is this record’s main problem.
It is clear that the band have set out with a serious statement of intent. At times, the band’s ambition is matched by their collective execution: Harriet Hyde’s vocals are admirable and evocative and, when they get things right, the juxtaposition of Ms Hyde’s haunting melodies with the Kyuss-worshipping riffage, well, it’s sonic deliciousness.
However, it’s not all happy and glorious. At the point where you’d hope they’d bring some further depth and sonic invention, they opt for the simple and workmanlike, so what could have been a stoner vibe of hypnotic prowess ends up being a bit of a, well, overlong and pedestrian affair. Memorable songs are intermittent and, as a consequence, the record is uneven and, whilst not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, doesn’t really set the pulse racing or have the hairs stand up on the back of one’s neck, as all the best music can and, surely, must.
Even casual students of rock music will have observed something of a shifting of the proverbial sands over the past two years. There is a veritable sense of pretty much everyone upping their game. In this environment, the ambition of Black Moth is to be applauded as Anatomical Venus is a record that sees the band stretch their creative palette. It’s not without its charms but, overall, it doesn’t reach the heights that you hope it will.
It’s just, well, alright.
A bit like Dorothy arriving at the Emerald City, discovering the truth behind the myth of Oz, on Anatomical Venus, I can see the joins when what I really want to do is simply feel the magic.