In their short biography, Brighton hyper-melodic rock outfit Verses express their desire to “challenge for the British rock crown.” They’ve certainly gone a significant way towards achieving this end through relentless touring, and the welcome support of eminent UK rock magazine Rock Sound, who provided a free copy of the band’s mini album ‘Come To Life’ in a recent issue, and continue to nudge them into the limelight at every opportunity. These are just rewards for the consistent work rate and striving for quality that Verses have displayed over the past few years.
Perhaps not kings just yet, the Sussex boys follow in the footsteps of Young Guns, We Are The Ocean and Deaf Havana, delivering a similar cocktail of incredibly melodic rock and post-hardcore inclinations. New EP ‘Come To Life’ contains 6 tracks of energetic, catchy, and highly-polished rock that should satisfy the genre aficionados, and raise eyebrows here and there. Yet this listener remains unconvinced. Sure, opener ‘Little Catastrophe’ checks all the required boxes. Poppy enough, rocky enough, and produced with the adept ear of someone well versed in pleasing audiences, it fits perfectly in the industry mold it was created outside (making it hard not to confuse it with everything else out there).
The same disease infects ‘Who We Are’ (whoah-ohs galore!), ‘Same White Light’ (though inflections of emotion help it raise it a little above the rest) and ‘Fear Doesn’t Live Here.’ Many will consider it too harsh a criticism to level at one given band, but tediously trying to find words to describe something that struggles to make this reviewer feel anything (good or bad) is a trying task. BUT! Welcome but! It isn’t all sonic doom and gloom, and Verses do have their bright moments. ‘Ten Seconds Left’ employs the very same, tired, conventions as above, but the songwriting is a cut above the rest, the inevitable consequence is quite simply a better, more compelling, track. Better still, ‘Best Of History’ sees the band apply a little variety with a great crescendo, from the warm softness of the vocals over crystal clear guitars to crashing cymbals and atmospherics.
Ending with ‘Best Of History’ makes me want to believe that there’s potential for more consistency, and I really do want to believe it. Yet as a whole, ‘Come To Life’ fails to set the world alight, reliant as it is on a sound that is currently very conventional. That being said, it would be easy to dismiss them as weaker versions of other bands, and the two bright spots on the mini-album deserve more than that. So here’s to an outwards maturation, and more of what animates ‘Ten Seconds Left’ and ‘Best Of History.’
‘Come To Life’ is released 6th May on Killing Moon Records.
Words by James Berclaz- Lewis