The Brunettes: Venus Loves Mars
By Claire Nelson
The Brunettes are back with their variation on kitsch 60's pop - tales of young love, young hate and working in a record store. If you're not familiar with The Brunettes then be prepared for a trip back in time, to the era of Happy Days and cherry coke. This whimsical little time-machine is the child of Heather Mansfield and Jonathan Bree, who turned left when the rest of the NZ music scene turned right, and as a result have come up with something rather unique. Most of the tracks stick in your head (especially Loopy Loopy Love), although my favourite is the amusingly sinister You Beautiful Militant which - amidst all this light-hearted merriment - describes a neighbourhood shooting spree - a life of discontented 60's suburbia would probably do that to you. Bree's American drawl can start to wear thin, although it certainly matches the four-piece act's sweet-as-cherry-pie persona. This is cute pop music, with quirky deliberation and sophisticated musicianship making it a lot more than just cute pop. It provides a nice change of pace, and 'Venus Loves Mars' should provide a number of radio play options for that reason. But like a triple chocolate sundae, this album won't hold me addicted for the long haul - the sweetness can get a bit sickly, though you should certainly make sure you have a taste.