The west coast of America, and California in particular has been described in music many times, from the Beach Boys harmonious surf pop to the hippy haze of The Mamas and The Papas, the slick acoustic rock of The Eagles and of course the dexterous, folkie asides of Led Zeppelin. It is natural that those who live there want to enshrine it in song and those who dream of it want to conjure musical myths and explore their ambitions for it. Brice Sedgwick does both. Back with his trademark understated and considered blends of dance groove and more mediative pop, Venice is a collection of songs written from someone who calls it home. If the geographically the place itself isn’t always the subject at hand, it is always there in the music, a backdrop painted from the subtle hues and supple brushstrokes of the soundscapes and smooth sonics from which he builds his songs.
The title track is a gentle piano piece, part personal narrative, part poetic description of the scenes and scenarios that the story plays through and at the other extreme Symmetry runs on a funky, hip-pop groove. Between this minimalism and these dance grooves that he uses as his parameters, the songs have plenty of room to explore ideas, fuse genres and wander interesting and unique pathways. Mondays Aren’t Blue In California is a sultry little minx of a song and Boy’s Don’t Cry is a lilting pop ballad that with the right tail wind and a lucky roll of the dice could easily become a chart bothering concern.
Venice is Brice on top form; if Pacifico laid out a stall talking about the realities of life and its harder edges wrapped up in the smoothest of sonic trappings, Venice reveals that not only was this not a one trick wonder as he continues to really delivers the goods. The goods in this case being songs that raise even his own already high benchmarks.