For a band that wasn't sure if it would survive past the recording of its most recent release, AZAR, Venice Is Sinking certainly seems to have a lot of momentum going. The Athens, Georgia, quintet is touring more than ever and already has its next album — a collaboration with Drive-By Truckers producer David Barbe — finished. (That project sounds intriguing, as the members of VIS recorded it in a theater using just two microphones to better capture their live subtleties.) But AZAR is a proper studio effort that sees the band perfecting the somber orchestral pop for which it has become known. In fact, the minimalist approach of tunes like "Ryan's Song" and "Okay" sets the band apart from many of its indie-pop counterparts: Instead of cluttering the arrangements with unnecessary instrumentation, VIS builds its music around space.
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