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Wild Talents (Profile)

Local Pop/Punk/Shoegaze band readies its first EP with extra perception

By C.A. MacConnell · March 30th, 2011 · Locals Only
Studying E.T.s and paranormal oddities was all in a day’s work for Charles Fort, a writer/researcher who developed a cult following. In 1932, Fort coined the phrase “wild talents,” referring to eerie psychic and mental abilities.

Named after the book by the same name, in this same supernatural vein, local band Wild Talents breathes out ghostly Pop/Punk with a Shoegaze feel. All songs set a contemplative mood, an “emotional, thinking it over” feel, the moment in a movie when the climax ends and the falling action begins.

M. McGuire (guitar) and Lurancy Vennum (vocals, keys, bass) telepathically write all of the lyrics. Short-haired, big-eyed wise one McGuire owns several parrots. Seemingly a born intuitive, he settles back and thinks before he speaks, downplaying the pretentious, soon capturing everyone’s entire moods and thought processes in one sentence. When asked how the band came to be, he pauses, grins and states, “We met on a whaling ship.”

In Minnesota, McGuire played in numerous bands, later moving to Cincinnati for love. (True: I was a wedding witness.) Back then, new to town, McGuire decided to make some musical shifts towards the realm of Sonic Youth.

“I decided I was going to teach myself how to play guitar differently,” he says. “I don’t play anything in standard tuning … it’s really opened up the instrument to me a lot, and I think it’s opened up our songwriting, because (Vennum) can do all kinds of vocal harmonies that we wouldn’t be able to do if we were just playing standard chords.”

Close friends, there is an apparent “separated at birth” connection between the twosome.

Vennum has pixie-short platinum hair, wide features, short black nails and an infectious smile. Her eyes are mysterious and full-on lit-up. Although her face holds a constant soft glow, her multiple tats show her louder side.

“I can’t remember not singing,” she says, grinning.

Vennum was a competition singer until 16 when “extracurricular activities” trumped choir practice.

Her first tattoo: a spider.

Formerly the lead singer of Sukpatch, Vennum met McGuire at Clifton’s Cactus Pear restaurant in 2006. As for stage presence, she says, “I really like singing and performing. I get a little nervous and scared of people, but I pretend they’re not there. It’s cool when they respond well.”

Vennum’s vocals have a Punk edge, although Wild Talents’ music comes across as more artistically meandering. Mentioning Connie Francis, Vennum says, “There’s always a girl singer on the turntable at my house.” McGuire adds that Vennum has a knack for matching her voice to the lyrics, literally becoming the character in the song. The old out-of-body trick.

Adam L. Lawrence (drums, bass, keys, vocals) appears clean-cut, wearing stripes, but he’s got the art bug as well; he’s a video and photography buff.

“(Vennum) and I met at one of those traveling gun-and-knife shows,” he jokes. Actually, he worked with Vennum and has been best friends with Aaron Bray (drums, bass) for 10 years.

As a kid, Lawrence traveled the country playing baseball, but he always wrote music. Later, Lawrence sang in Punk and Metal bands; one Thrash band, Inside Recess, opened for Marilyn Manson. He laughs before saying, “It wasn’t really singing. It was more like yelling.”

On Bray, Lawrence says, “He can pretty much play any instrument really well. It’s unreal. He does everything by ear, and he’s completely self-taught. He’s an amazing musician. It’s ridiculous … he’s always been the solid one.”

Busy drums = Bray. Loud drums = Lawrence.

Songs ease in with slinky female vocals, like sexy, unexplained poetry set to music. Early recordings like “Life of Birds” and “As the Snow Fell” capture the visual, haunting, ethereal feel, one where a slow intensity remains constant, as if there’s a medium in the room. On the band’s forthcoming EP, “The Road” brings it all together, picking it up a notch with heavier drums.

Everyone except McGuire switches instruments often.

“It keeps it interesting,” Lawrence says. “I think everyone in the band shows personality.”

On influences, McGuire says, “It’s not blatant. We’ve internalized all of them. We just kind of sound like ourselves … we’re definitely a ‘song band.’ That’s what we put our energy into. We don’t really have any sort of image.”

Unless clairvoyance counts.

“Not that we’re not all extremely handsome and beautiful people,” Lawrence says, laughing.

Hitting all the local haunts, and with short films in the band’s future, Wild Talents plan to venture into more electronic territory. Hard at work on their first EP, onward and upward into the paranormal, Wild Talents have tight ties and an extrasensory musical heart. They’re in it for the spooky love of it.

WILD TALENTS (www.myspace.com/wildtalents) plays Mainstay Rock Bar Friday with Glowfriends and Great Young Hunters. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.



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