Review Summary: yawn-inducing execution squandering massive potential.
The genre of emo has clearly grown sparser and sparser in innovation since the turn of the decade. The age of soft, twinkly, post-rock influenced emo hasn’t really done much besides trying to be the next Whenever, If Ever
or attempting to be more pretentious than American Football fans on /mu/. Whereas on the heavier side, emoviolence has had as much innovation as it can hold within its small bandcamp proficient audience. With us heading through the latter half of the decade, especially for people within the realm of reviewing emotive music, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be able to review newer works so positively when the merit that some of these albums achieve is only really decreasing
. This is part of the issue with Verse
as there is definitely some redeemable factors that save this record, but the traits that are at fault only really diminish what there is to be of a positive experience.
The instrumentation serves as the record’s biggest saving grace while also simultaneously being its most profound fault. The horn section that carries the record provides some of the most intriguing and victorious sounding musicality that indie rock/emo has had to offer over the past few years or so. It’s just the too
twinkly guitars and the too
clean production hinders the record from any drive and emotion it has, making the record feel almost absolutely sterile besides the horns and occasionally the short percussive flairs that appear here and there on the record. The vocals also do not help much at all; as the male vocalist sounds like he had downed 20mg of Xanax and washed it down with a bottle of NyQuil before recording his vocal takes at times. Once the record begins, it really only goes downhill until the end which is another key issue. While this thing theoretically flows pretty coherently, that aspect is cancelled out by the fact that this record is so boring for most of its run time. The more post rock leaning tracks feel nothing but bland with their attempts at invoking any feeling into the listener just coming out as elevator music most of the time. Though most of the time is the key phrase in that sentence. There are definitely some standout moments to be had though. Once the vocals come in on centerpiece “Eulita Terrace,” the song changes into this suave jazz tinged indie that will have the phrase “tell me” repeating in your head throughout the whole week. The closer “Sleeptalk” also takes some heavy cues from fellow twinkly indie-emo counterparts empire! empire!, employing victorious harmonies and actually emotive
vocals (from an emo band on topshelf, who woulda guessed??) coupled with well syncopated drum/horn parts that provide an unlimitedly higher quality effort than the previous tracks. Probably because there’s actually effort
in general but I digress, these few and far between ravishing moments do not save the record in its entirety though by any means.
The potential for People Like You is so close to being executed, it’s almost palpable at this point. The ideas of mixing harmonious jazz moments with post rock and emo influenced instrumentation could go so many different journeys than what is represented on Verse
. The generic indie-rock vocals as well as the less than dull production only serve to salt the wounds the album made for itself with its effortless and uneventful execution. The potential for a band like People Like You to come out with an album akin to something like What It Takes To Move Forward
is so clearly there that it physically hurts
how poorly constructed this record feels for a vast majority of its run time. At its best, Verse
has some of the most creative and well thought-out suave pieces of indie today, while at its worst, Verse
is just a long forgotten coffee shop soundtrack.