Tuesday, 17 June 2014

VERSKOTZI - ALBUM REVIEW

Verskotzi - Lemon Heart (Princess Records) 
Verskotzi - Lemon Heart

Minneapolis boy Joey Verskotzi and his band cite the likes of Bob Dylan, Thom Yorke and Wilco in their influences and instantly I'm interested in what they've got to say. It's a lot to live up to though. The album, 'Lemon Heart', opens with 'Luck', something of a chugging, slow burner of a song with a subtle thrum and instantly Joey's  smooth vocals hook you in to the tune in a way that Brandon Flowers has perfected over the years. The spaced out Flaming Lips style indie of 'Brain Rack' is a wondrous thing whereas 'Heartless Songs' has a more Fun Lovin' Criminals feel as the bass lurks in the shadows and the guitars swing casually from woman to woman in a seedy bar. As '8th Train Station' comes around, Verskotzi  are in full stride taking some excellent song craftsmenship and adding in a real sense of Rock-Pop bravado the likes of which would expect from the Killers or U2.

I love a good song title that peaks the interest and 'Burnt Yuppies' is a great one, that's for sure. The song itself is just over a minute of gentle acoustic picking with tender vocals and subdued, tired vocal harmonies. On 'Honey' the Wilco/Radiohead shuffle is immediately recognisable as Joey's smooth voice weaves it's magic throughout the strummed guitar and pitter-patter rhythms before 'Blue' creeps in quietly to sing you a lullaby as a sand storm rages outside in the dustbowl. These guys really know how to put a song together and the big drum stomp that introduces 'The Flying Piano' is a real statement of intent - the intent being that these guys want to have some fun in front of a big, pumped up crowd sometime this summer. With the end rapidly approaching, the band take their foot off the gas momentarily to introduce 'Abandoned Love (feat. Zoo Animal)' which is atmospheric, awkward and proudly displaying the Radiohead fan badge. The album closes with 'Diamond Ring' which is the kind of piano based rousing ballad that Keane are desperate to write but can't remember how to. I'm not really sure what the future holds for Verskotzi as they sound pretty polished and they have a couple of big tunes so I guess they just need to gig, gig and gig again until the world has no option but to pay attention.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/verskotzimusic?fref=ts

Listen Download: http://verskotzi.bandcamp.com/

Live Dates:

18th June - Gas Lamp, Des Moines
19th June - Mulligan's, Grand Rapids

20th June - Lemmons, St Louis

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