Dance Chapel (Album Review)
"V*enna is a group that has been making waves in the music scene with beautiful female vocals over beats and grinds. The group is made up of two vocalists, one being Lucy Britten from the UK, famous for her beautiful vocals in the groups Storm and Psalmistry, as well as in the Jumping in the House of God series. Joining her is her best friend Sharnessa Shelton from Washington in the USA who has an incredible voice as well. Apparently the ladies met through Mark Pennells of The World Wide Message Tribe and have been "the best of mates" ever since!
There has been quite a craze lately with the likes of The Backstreet Boys, Brittany Spears, and the like blending the elements of Dance and Pop in a way that is widely accepted by mainstream culture. The latest releases from Movation seem to be going in this direction of Danceable Pop with Raze, V*enna, Shine, and the latest Tribe album. The different US labels seem to be snatching it up for distribution as Raze is happily at home with Forefront, Shine at Reunion, and V*enna with Essential Records. You may definitely argue whether this is Dance music or not, as it is largely Pop with some beats, grinds, and electronic influences. It may not be Techno, Trance, House, or Drum & Bass, but what few fail to realize is Dance/Pop paves the way for Dance Music to hit the Radio!
"Where I Wanna Be" is the title track and first song on the album starting things off with a cool sounding grind that builds to a bang, making a cool intro. This is a phat sounding track, well produced with tight sounding vocals, and a cool electronic music bed. A little effects and some distortion make the vocals sound clubbier and this is definitely my favorite song off the album. The chorus is very catchy with straight forward Gospel lyrics, and Lucy's beautiful voice blends in very nicely with Sharnessa's. The next song "Make That Noize", is one of the dancier tunes on the album as well, and even features the additional vocals of Ja' Marc from Raze. This song should definitely be a concert favorite as the crowd can interact with the chorus as it literally spells out the words "V*enna" and "Party" in a fun rhyming way. A little scratching is part of the music bed as the gals sing "Make that noize, turn it up, everybody till the day we drop, make that sound, shake the ground, everybody get down! V-E-N-N-A we're gonna make you rock today, P-A-R-T-Y we're gonna lift Him up tonight!" Granted it's a bit cheesy, but its super fun and has a catchy rhyme, and a good groove! Sometimes it seems as we have gotten so musically "mature" these days we have forgotten what fun is all about. Those are pretty much the most upbeat Dance tracks on the album, and "Do You Wanna Know", "Why Did I Let You Go?", "Sunshine and Rain", "Best Friends", "Hold On", and "Don't Stop" all have electronic layering with good beats, and inventive vocal techniques, but really have more of a Hip Hop flare and an Urban R feel than Dance.
They are all highly recommended tracks, with incredible vocals, hooks, and Pop Delights, and a touch of that old US Commercial House feel that took the Secular Radio by storm, as well as the EuroPop feel that did the same for UK Radio. "Sometimes" and "Don't Get Left Behind" are both beautiful ballads in the tradition of The World Wide Message Tribe's best softies, and "All The Way to Heaven" has a sentimental feel but is a bit peppier with that catchy chorus! V*enna is changing the face of the CCM radio, and for the better as far as I am concerned! I can actually stand to listen for more than a few songs now, and its getting dancier all the time. Out of all the "boy bands" and "girl groups" suddenly erupting onto the scene, this is definitely the best and most original of them, and they should totally evangelize their target audience with their fun style and up front lyrics. It certainly doesn't hurt their image that both girls aren't too hard on the eyes either...all in all if you are into the Dance/Pop genre and you have limited fundage, this is your best bet for a good listen!
Available on Essential Records in the US, and Movation in the UK (with a few additional Dance mixes I am told)