The Venus Fly Trap – Time Lapse (1995-2010)


Formed from the same fertile soil that birthed Bauhaus, Alan Moore, and…Kinky Boots, Northampton’s The Venus Fly Trap have been terrorising listeners with their Bladerunner inspired brand of darkwave for over 35 years. Time Lapse (1995-2010) collates a dozen tracks from three latter day albums which found the band shapeshifting from their post-punk roots into an intriguing rock and electronic fusion. Providing a nice counterpoint to Time Lapse volume one (reviewed here), there’s never been a better time to get caught in the Fly Trap’s jaws.

Like some shapeshifting reptilian creature from a 1950’s sci-fi flick, The Venus Fly Trap have been in constant evolution and their 1996 album, Dark Amour, was no exception. After the muscular posturing of previous full-length, Luna Tide the band’s musical outlook expanded even further, and the resulting sound was dark and oppressive. Previously tucked away on the Dark Amour release, ‘Indian Good Luck Symbol’ makes an impressive opener on this collection and it pulls the listener in with a gravitational force that can’t be resisted. In a striking juxtaposition, ‘Pulp Sister’ follows and it’s an infectious earworm that wouldn’t seem out of place on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, and it seems as if it’s just waiting for Quentin Tarantino to stumble upon.

By 2004, The Venus Fly Trap’s metamorphosis was complete and they were firmly ensconced as darkwave duo. Vocalist Alex Novak and guitarist (and former drummer) Andy Denton were accompanied by surgical synths so sharp that they could slice skin, and the soundscapes they produced were psychedelic and scary. ‘Metropolis’ and ‘Sabotage’ were singles pulled from Zenith, and both remain in the band’s live set to this very day. Deep cuts from that record such as ‘Twilight Opera’ have aged very well and perfectly encapsulate the band’s modus operandi; it’s slightly sinister and should create dystopian images in your mind’s eye. It’s hallucinogenic, but without the hallucinogens.

If there was one song that was made for The Venus Fly Trap then it was surely The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’. Like all covers should be handled, The Fly Trap take it, and then remould it in their own image; Denton’s guitar has an irresistible twang while Novak sings like a demented Jim Morrison. Taken from 2010’s Nemesis opus, it found the darkwave duo further honing their rock n’ electronic hybrid with ‘Gemini Lounge’ hinting at the direction the band would take on 2018’s Icon, but they still found time to revisit some roots on the organic, garage-inspired ‘Penny Black’. Making for a thoughtful closer, ‘Something Wicked’ weighs heavy (like a concrete overcoat) and ensures the silence that follows is positively deafening.

Time Lapse (1995-2010) makes the perfect companion to Time Lapse (1989-1994) and in many ways they are different sides of the same coin. When listened to together they chart the development of one of the UK’s most underappreciated bands, and you have to marvel at their ability to evolve whilst retaining their core sound. As the final song suggests; ‘Something Wicked’ comes this way.

Track List:

  1. Indian Good Luck Symbol *
  2. Pulp Sister *
  3. 28th March *
  4. Lifeforce *
  5. Metropolis **
  6. Sabotage **
  7. Twilight Opera **
  8. Neg X **
  9. Human Fly ***
  10. Gemini Lounge ***
  11. Penny Black ***
  12. Something Wicked ***

*Dark Amour (1996)

** Zenith (2004)

*** Nemesis (2010)