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Venus Ray – The World Woke Up Without Me

In title alone this is much more downcast than their 2001 debut Chuck Berry Vs IBM, and with good reason. The death of Venus Ray drummer Steve Smith midway through recording turned this otherwise confident successor into an involuntary epitaph. Maybe it’s coincidence but there’s definitely something hauntingly melancholic about the Pavement-ish opener “Melody” or the gentle, soporific “Sunglasses”. At least Smith went out rocking, drumming up a storm on “Hurricane”, typical of their Big Star-meets-Joe Meek soundclash.