Artist: Venus Blake; Musicians: Blake: Vocals, piano and guitar; Lex Mars: Bass

Album: The Other Side of Midnight Count; Released: October 31, 2021 on St. Germain Records; Producer: Mars

Exploring the darkest spaces of the human psyche, including isolation, chaos, addiction and lost love, is one of the most powerful ways that musicians can connect with their audiences. Gothic pop singer-songwriter, Venus Blake is doing just that to bond with her listeners on her recently released, relatable debut album, ‘The Other Side of Midnight.’

The compelling, authoritative 11-track soul pop-adult contemporary record from the London and Italy-based multi-instrumentalist is fueled by fiery lyricism and powerhouse vocals that offer an intimate look into the heart of the modern day outsider. ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ captures the alienation, melancholy and angst of Blake, who’s contending with such obstacles as loss, heartbreak and isolation in a world driven by increasingly endless pain and suffering.

Taking inspiration form such fellow pop stars who focus on life’s darker issues as Tori Amos, Adele and Evanescence’s frontwoman, Amy Lee, Blake created a harrowingly honest and intimate look into the darkest corners of the soul on ‘The Other Side of Midnight,’ which is filled with outsider anthems. The musician’s intense vocals, dark lyrics and expressive mastery of the piano captivatingly lead the album, which is notable for its dark cinematic quality and exploration of themes of tragic romance, sadness, drama, poetry, glamour and melancholia.

Blake’s debut record begins with one of its best entries, ‘Hungry Ghosts,’ which is a stunning anthem that shares the emotions of the outsiders who feel alienated by modern culture and as if there isn’t a place for them in the world. The singer emotionally speaks directly to those people who feel more comfortable in the quiet of the darkness, while they dream of a better life in angelic vocals. Supported by soothing piano chords, the musician’s personal lyrics evolve into a reltable recounting of people’s universal desire to find a community where they belong and is free of judgment.

‘Hungry Ghosts’ then transitions into ‘The Other Side of Midnight Count’s sophomore track, the adult contemporary-driven ‘Red Wine.’ The poetic, cinematic tune, which would serve perfectly as the score of an emotional and sentimental movie scene, features Blake crooning about feeling isolated from the world, alone in her candlelit room, with a bottle of the titular red wine. In gentle, soft vocals that are supported by elegant piano chords, the singer asks to see the magic that seems so absent from her everyday life. Blake’s radiant timbres imbue the lyrics with palpable melancholy.

‘Red Wine’ is succeeded by the album’s third entry, ‘Tragedy,’ which chronicles the torment of loving someone who’s struggling to battle addiction. Blake croons about wanting to escape the situation, but ultimately not being able to let go of her the chaotic drama of a toxic relationship that you refuse to give up on. The song serves as the musician’s impassioned plea to her lover to work on battling his addiction. Supported by a blues-inspired piano arrangement, Blake showcases the power of her fierce vocals by transitioning from an almost whisper in the track’s opening before she hits anguished heights in its chorus, and then finally asks, ‘How can I live? Without my tragedy?’

‘The Other Side of Midnight Count’ begins to wind down with its 10th entry, ‘Ashes,’ which is one of the best tunes on the record. Driven by soulful pop adult contemporary vocals and piano chords, the song is an important anthem about the importance of figuring out how to contend with changing love. The singer croons about how all that’s left behind from a love that has faded are beautiful, precious memories and ashes. She admits that letting go of that love is the hardest thing she has to do, but the bond between them will forever be in their hearts.

Blake’s debut album ends with the soulful song ‘Escape,’ which is driven by soulful acoustic guitar strumming that provides the perfect backdrop for emotional vocals. The musician croons in psychedelic verses about how people often wish to escape from wherever they are, whoever they’re in overwhelming situations. In bittersweet melancholy, she also ponders whether people can ever escape from the one thing they’d like to breakaway from the most – themselves – as they try to find the one thing that makes them truly happy.

Blake is naturally able to bond with her listeners on her recently released debut album, as she explores the darkest spaces of the human psyche, including isolation, chaos, addiction and lost love. Overall, ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ is a compelling, authoritative and relatable collection of fiery lyricism and powerhouse vocals that offer an intimate look into the heart of the modern day outsider. Its 11 songs capture the alienation, melancholy and angst people feel when they contend with such obstacles as loss and heartbreak in a world dealing with increasingly endless pain and suffering.

The singer created a harrowingly honest and intimate look into the darkest corners of the soul on her first record, which is filled with outsider anthems. Blake’s intense vocals, dark lyrics and expressive mastery of the piano captivatingly lead the album, which is notable for its dark cinematic quality and exploration of themes of tragic romance, sadness, drama, poetry, glamour and melancholia.

For more information on Blake, visit her official website, as well as her Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

The cover for singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Venus Blake’s Goth pop-adult contemporary album, ‘The Other Side of Midnight.’

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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