Venus is the second planet from the sun. It’s also the Roman goddess of love and beauty. West Virginian singer-songwriter, Brian Cottrill takes a journey away from his rock and roll group, The Grey Agents, to release his latest solo single, “Gates of Venus.” Though not out of this world, this highly enjoyable rock-pop tune is a worthy trip for any adventure around the sun. It’s warm, catchy and comforting.
Cottrill does it all on “Gates of Venus.” Not only did he write the lyrics, he’s behind the controls on vocals, guitar, bass, drums, harmonica and keys. The beauty in this song is Cottrill’s voice and delivery. No, he’s not fey or cutesy. He’s cozy like James Taylor; he’s laid back like Tom Petty. Regardless, he’s uniquely him and has an instant rapport with the listener. I think that’s his biggest strength (besides of course writing and playing all the instruments) is his immediate likability. As a listener I felt very connected to his voice. The way he drapes the guitars around his delivery is exciting, yet not distracting. It just fits. The change-ups and perfectly-paced rhythm make “Gates of Venus” easy to dance and nod-along.
Lyrically, he plays it a bit safe, but nonetheless, it’s a strong pop song. Dare I say – radio ready! He sings I know you’ll keep my body warm tonight / in the gates of Venus …Everyone’s a bit insane but love can keep us from the pain tonight / in the gates of Venus…Inside the gates of Venus / we’ll hide where no one can see us. His lyrics come across in such a way you feel like he’s coming from a background of (again) Tom Petty and even influences of Bryan Adams. I like the simplicity. I like that the he paints a clear canvass and imagery for his love. The harmonies and his perfectly-timed melodic guitar bridge move the song along and caress themselves to the lovely space he’s created. Again, with Venus being so close to the sun, it’s no coincidence that Cottrill’s “Venus” surrounds the listener with a warmth and invigorating vibe. Underneath the lyrics and even between the stanzas and beats, I felt a subtle energy. Like many pop songs, bands and artists get to the point quickly (don’t bore us, get to the chorus!), Cottrill’s likeability is cheer worthy. He has zest and zip going on him that he probably doesn’t even realize.
Did you know that Venus doesn’t have a moon orbiting it? That said, it’s a nice thought to have to imagine the spotlight shining on, and surrounding Cottrill’s “Gates of Venus.” I think he earns it. He draws in the listener with a slick pop rock song and fills in the spaces with fresh guitar riffs and a tight music bed. He casts a starry-tale of love and imagines a perfect setting for his love goddess. As a listener I never felt like I was invading a special moment, but rather connecting on a new level and imagining a groovy, whole new world of love and delight.
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