Album review: MARK VENNIS & DIFFERENT PLACE – A Beautiful Lie Or The Ugly Truth

MARK VENNIS & DIFFERENT PLACE - A Beautiful Lie Or the Ugly Truth

Cadiz Music [Release date 20.04.18]

Mark Vennis, a 20 year veteran of the film industry, with production credits on 33 films to his name, including the comedy drama Funny Cow, and the recent documentary ‘Here To Be Heard; The Story Of The Slits’, has been writing and playing guitar with his band Different Place since 2008.

Over that time they’ve released at least one long player, and a number of EPs. A Beautiful Lie Or The Ugly Truth, a low key, Americana set, brings together remixed and remastered versions of three limited edition EPs, a couple of new songs, and a Merle Travis cover.

And while it’s a DIY affair, produced by long term creative collaborator Duncan Lefeuvre (drums) at his New Forest, Gravel Track Studios , and with Dave Sweetenham (bass and vocals) and Daniel Hunnisett (guitar , harmonica and vocals) completing the line-up, it’s actually rather good.

In a lo-fi sort of way. It’s not a shiny, polished, big production, and in some way it benefits from that – allowing the songs and delivery to flourish. And while acknowledged influences include Johnny Cash, The Clash, Steve Earl, The Ruts, Springsteen, John Lee Hooker, Howling Wolf, John Martyn and Ry Cooder, the overarching vibe is one of the mid- Seventies when there was an explosion of raw talent.

There’s very distinct echoes of Mark Knopfler in Vennis’ guitar playing and song writing style, his vocals a marriage of Knopfler and Jagger, with some of the hooks reminiscent of The Stranglers and The Clash, and chiming guitars resonating with early REM.

Let’s not kid anyone it’s the start of a new career, but in its refreshingly uncomplicated delivery, A Beautiful Lie Or The Ugly Truth is nevertheless a rather charming, if out of time, record.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


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