NME live review, 29 May 1999

London Soho Wag Club

Is this for real? Presumably it is. We have to ask because Venini, in the most peculiar sense, are unbelievable. Let us count the ways.

The guitarist. It's Russell Senior, formerly of Pulp and currently under the impression he's Phil Spector. He's wearing sunglasses, a suit, a neat mod fringe and a permanent frown. At his feet, for some reason, lie eight effects pedals.

Then there's Debbie Lime, the vampish singer. She's no great shakes but looks fantastic as she towers over the rest of the band in her high heels. She carries herself like a nervous Stars In Their Eyes contestant, all contrived hip sways and self-conscious pouts, but she is, quite plainly, already a star.

And the music? Dangerous, sexy and brimful of attitude, right? Well, no, not really. It's conservative neo-Britpop with glam affectations, actually, or, on debut single and opener 'Mon Camion', the whipsmart melodic suss of Blondie. Nothing new, in other words, which is a little disappointing not least because Senior's role in this particular group of misfits is effectively the same as it was in Pulp, only less enjoyable. More tragically, Powder were crucified for similar crimes against music not so long ago.

"Versace", Debbie drawls vapidly on one song, "Gucci, Galliano, Moschino". You just hope their press shots look amazing.

Piers Martin