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Venus Hum

Venus Hum, a Tennessee trio that includes not a single guitar, actually derives its name from what is possibly the coolest medical condition since narcolepsy: Tony Miracle, credited with computers and electronics, hears the pulse from his jugular vein in his ear. Hummingbirds contains three re-recordings from the band's first CD and one new song. Think '80s new wave with a '90s pop ingénue vocalist -- Annette Strean's voice fits snugly with synth-pop resonance, as strong and competent as Paula Cole's, but inhabiting a breathless vulnerability that invites comparisons to Björk.

With just four tracks, Hummingbirds seems to span a remarkable range of moods -- from the happy, life-lusting title track to the wayward and wanting "Illumine." Though Venus Hum doesn't have an entirely new sound, this EP is still a sighingly accessible effort, a plate of warm synth-pop comfort food in a time of much experimental hoo-hah.

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Marli Guzzetta

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