Venus Hum’s The Colors In The Wheel begins deceptively with the understated, mostly acoustic “Turn Me Around.” The song’s static-y surface noise and loosey-goosey lyrics, however, remain constant throughout the rest of the Nashville-based trio’s second synth-pop effort. Kate Bush (or, seemingly, Kate Bush via Tori Amos’s industrial-pop period) is an admitted influence on lead singer Annette Strean, and the loopier she gets the better, as evidenced by the album’s best track “Genevieve’s Wheel,” which begins with the repetitive refrain “Genevieve and I used to talk about it” (leaving “it” completely ambiguous) and ending with a breathy list of names like Skylar, Trevan, and…Gary. The group takes a shot at Paisley Park pop on “Pink Champagne,” one of the album’s standout tracks, and succeeds surprisingly well, while “72 Degrees” sports the kind of rebellion that wouldn’t sound of place on Esthero’s Wikked Lil’ Grrrls. “72 Degrees,” like “Birds And Fishes” and “Surgery In The Sky,” feels underwritten and overproduced, but ambient snippets provide the connective tissue between the album’s 10 songs. While references to other artists give The Colors In The Wheel a sense of familiarity, they don’t give it a whole lot of originality—throughout the album, Venus Hum spins the titular wheel and lands on one of many musical colors. But rather than result in a mish-mash of influences, the trio manages to maintain an extremely consistent hue.
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