Single Review: The Venus Fly Trap – Achilles Heel

From the same fertile ground that spawned Bauhaus and Pat Fish, Northampton’s very own The Venus Fly Trap are something of a musical chameleon. Like Killing Joke they’ve taken on new forms whilst remaining easily identifiable throughout a career that’s seen them evolve from post-punk to darkwave electronica.

Part of a comprehensive reissue campaign, “Achilles Heel” was originally released in 1991  and found the band skipping forward upon waves of effervescence. First thing to note is that tension of opposites which characterises much of their work as the song is propelled forth by an electronic beat that’s played with organic instruments. Drummer Andy Denton hits the skins with metronomic precision over which vocalist Alex Novak croons like a demented Jim Morrison. The synthesisers are punctuated by the guitar which rings like a series of electric shocks before uncoiling, snake-like, to tussle with the pounding bass.

Largely ignored in their native UK, The Venus Fly Trap found a receptive audience on the continent are regularly invaded the French charts. Taken from the Pandora’s Box album (released on the French label Danceteria) “Achilles Heel” was produced by The Jazz Butcher (Pat Fish) who provides an expansive production which uses the full dynamic range and places the instrumentation at the very edges of your speakers and his studio wizardry is expanded by two minutes on this 12” mix.

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“Achilles Heel” comes from an era when bands used B-sides as a space to get a bit creative and the two tracks here push the boundaries somewhat. “Hotel Weep” is a slightly discombobulating affair that’s akin to taking a midnight stroll through the corridors of Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel while “TV Falls From A Hotel Window” finds the band exploring some unsettling dub territory that’s peppered with some choice samples.

“Achilles Heel” is released digitally via Glass Miniature and is available now

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