No Curses Here opens with a slinky, Eastern-tinged acoustic guitar phrase, metronomic high-hat hits, and Venable's image-laden beat poetry. "I saw a man fall through the street at Leavenworth and Eddy," she recites, and though her voice could be that of a teenager's, she manages throughout the album to convey a piercing vision and a wisdom that belies her years. The singer/songwriter is blessed by having a cracking band supporting her and a top-notch producer manning the helm. Scott Amendola (drums), Viktor Krauss (bass), Tom Meshishnek (guitar), and Alan Lin (violin) are incredibly versatile musicians, providing rock-solid foundations for all the tunes, whether Venable's flirting with jazz, country rock, or the blues. And veteran producer Lee Townshend gives to every song a rich, seductive sound that makes the mostly strong material all the more inviting. Highlights include "Jawbone Canyon," with verses that lazily waltz into singularly lovely pre-chorus sections, Venable delivering one of her most lovely and angelic vocal lines; you practically want to hold aloft your lighter during the chorus itself. The singer also shows she needs nothing more than a couple of well-played guitars to create a haunting soundscape, as in the troubled "Mr. Viper." It's melancholic jazz chords and subtly disturbing lyrics linger for some time in the listener's mind. No Curses Here is a surprisingly strong debut album that leaves you wondering to what heights the talented bandleader will climb.