This Be The Verse, their name presumably taken from the often quoted lyric poem by Philip Larkin, are an up-and-coming industrial rock band from London, formed in 2014. This is their first full-length.
At this point in time, in this musical vein, at this level of simplicity/complexity, there probably aren’t many other places to go, and so This Be the Verse stick to safe ground (in certain aspects) while putting their own spin on things. The sounds are less reminiscent of noise rock bands such as Lightning Bolt in 2003’s ‘Wonderful Rainbow’ than on their EP, but there’s more going on with an overall sound honed to appeal to a greater audience. ‘Consequences’ and ‘Ungrateful Me’ are rebirthed, sounding fuller, more encompassing, saturating sound waves with panned instrumentation and vocals.
‘Stubborn Youth’ rapidly proceeds in full swing, discordant chords juxtaposed against chromatic riffing reminiscent of The Dillinger Escape Plan. The main riff is simple, played like ‘Out of the Black’ (Royal Blood) or ‘Taste In Men’ (Placebo), but never showing up quite the same way twice. The interplay of the constantly evolving second chromatic riff played against the main riff’s second reprise sounds so organic and natural, but everything considered, is highly unlikely to not have been cleverly premeditated and planned, a mind potent with music theory and fresh, exciting songwriting skills put to good use. Consider how this follows a powerful repeated strumming of one simple power chord to grow heavier and heavier, building tension as it does.
‘Alone’ seems moodier, with trap percussion, tired late night vocals, whispering and an intimate change of pace. Though there is plenty of contrast within this album, this track stands out – a different kind of intensity.
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Then there is ‘I Am Charlie’, breathing quietly with soft, intimate fingerpicked guitar, distant piano, nearby apocalypse-lullaby vocals, spacey warm new age sounds… They ebb away, suggesting that the coming silence will be the end of the album. No, it is the caeura before the three quaver snare beat into a second half, one with the loud climatic build up to the finale.
“Worship your blood like a religion, there is no fucking god except the short life that we’re given (…) Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck religion!”
Mostly the lyrics don’t sound so specific as to be telling an individual story, neither do they seem overly vague. Read from a lyric booklet they might seem as if they were there just for the sake of it, unoriginal, unaffecting – but when brought to life by vocalist Ed Melech they seem immediate and confrontational, demanding your attention with emotion and power. The latter expletives almost sound bouncy. Live, one could imagine a whole room of people undulating as a wave as they jump to them in time.
This album has much to offer. What were initially interesting, new and quirky details on first listens, become exciting familiarities to look forward to. When acquainted with the main characteristics, more minor details reveal themselves on future listens.