0

Static In Verona

With individual references from different styles and genres, Static In Verona delivers an irresistible album that effortlessly fuses indie-pop, shoegaze, electronica and experimentalism to beguiling effect. There’s an energy that’s difficult to resist, distinctive alluring vocals, compelling melodies and a striking mix of drums, guitars and electronics combine to create an album of expertly-crafted upbeat pop songs.
Odd Anthem is the third album from Static in Verona, a recording vehicle for the highly talented Chicago musician Rob Merz. Last year’s impressive ‘Everything You Knew Before You Knew Everything’ took three years in the making, so this time Merz took out the meticulous writing and, bursting with vitality, let the ideas flow before spending time in the studio experimenting on the structure and the songwriting.
The album opens with ‘Anyone Anymore‘, with lively and incessantly toe-tapping energy aplenty, it bounces on shimmering, insistent drum beats, infectious guitar hooks and a chorus that shots through with an ear-pleasing melody. The vocals, meanwhile, have a laidback vibe that offers a nice contrast to the full-on instrumentals. The type of track you want to hear blasting out of your speakers as you cruise down the road on a hot summer’s day. ‘Heavy Hands‘ is a track song that captivates and demands attention from the outset, as Merz’s vocals are delivered over a constantly building melody of pounding drums and heavy bass. ‘Future Ghosts‘ is a real grower, Merz’s almost angelic vocal builds into a beguiling tidal wave of a sound as a strong electronic hook weaves it’s way round glistening guitars and persuasive drumbeats. The joy of this album is how Merz experiments with different genres, but still manages to seamlessly move from one track to another and take the listener with him. ‘Blink‘ is a great example of this as he dips into a more electronic trip-hop sound and to great effect. Grabbing you from the start with their anthemic, catchy chorus’s ‘Shudder To Think‘ and ‘Then A Hush‘ give an overall vibe of effortless enjoyment and both are ‘pop’ enough to appeal to the mainstream. They’re so infectious it’s hard not to become swept along by them and you’ll probably find yourself singing along in spite of yourself. ‘Tomorrow Feels Like Yesterday‘ is the penultimate song on the album, coming in at just over 2 minutes it has a strange psychedelic quality about it with Merz’s almost falsetto vocal harmonising with a stirring keyboard arrangement, an interesting contrast to some of the earlier tracks. Overall it’s a daydream of an album, with an excellent production and delivery, that keeps getting better with each new listen and definitely deserves to be heard by a greater audience.

The album was released on August 28th and can be purchased from bandcamp




0

Halloween Jack

In David Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’ Halloween Jack is described as a real cool cat, which is very apt for this London band who have crafted a lively sound all of their own, blending a retro-tinged coolness with a fresh and exciting modern edge. The band have just released their debut album ‘Nitelife’, full of swagger and retro-laced rock ‘n’ roll, combining rock elements with indie-pop ones to produce a strong, self-assured album, that doesn’t have one bad moment on it.
Halloween Jack, who formed in 2013, are Adam Camm on Vocals, Ian McEwan Bass, Nigel Tait Guitar and Sam Kerins Keyboards. The band’s sound is unpidgeonholeable as it crosses over many genres, drawing on numerous influences from the 60’s onwards. They played their first gig at the Dublin Castle, Camden in November 2013 to promote their first EP, the four track ‘Red’. Since then they have released two Singles, the gorgeous laid back ‘All My Love’ and the opener for this Album ‘So Masochistic’ with it’s scorching fervour of glam rock.
The album features ten tracks “built around themes of what ‘Nitelife’ entails and the characters that are a part of it’, kicking off with ‘So Masochistic”. As the lead out track it sets the bar high right from the start, a striking foot stomper with a furiously groovy guitar. It’s funky, it’s infectious and you can’t help but get swept along in its energy. The title track ‘Nitelife’ follows brimming with a melodic rock sound that is epic in ambition, yet underpinned with Camm’s versatile vocals giving it an indie feel. Vocally satisfying and well written lyrics, this is the kind of track that just keeps getting better with each listen ‘Vice’ is a teasing, edgy kind of track with some blistering guitar work and even a rapping segment, nevertheless it still manages to retain a catchy pop element courtesy of some cute hooks and sharp melodies. The fourth track ‘Fly in Amber’ has a 70’s classic rock vibe to it, allowing Camm’s vocals to quietly soar over some rollicking guitar licks and piano chords. ‘Sex Appeal’ sees the band cutting loose and adding some funk. It’s a song oozing with good-time energy from start to finish, dancebeats, handclaps, falsetto backing vocals and a shout-out chorus.’The Streets Come Alive’ slowly builds on the back of an infectious central guitar riff towards one of those bold singalong chorus that goes down a storm live. There is a blast of indie-rock energy on ‘Lover Boy’ as the guitars weighing in with some grittier riffs mix it with heavy keyboards, an energy that’s difficult to resist. ‘2995’ is one of the standout tracks of the album with it’s twangy country rock intro and piano keys weaving their way in and out with an effortless brightness. It slowly builds to a striking chorus, with Camm’s emotionally delivered vocals sounding a little Mick Jagger-esque . An anthem-in-waiting, it demands to be played loud and repeatedly. ‘Pop Music’ is one of those bouncy, happy-go-lucky songs that just gets under your skin and refuses to budge. The final track ‘Into The Sunset’ ensures the album finishes on a high. Built around atmospheric electronics and some breezy guitar riffs, it’s a perfect slice of indie-pop.

The album was released on August 21st and can be purchased from itunes