Since forming in 2005, Luxembourg’s Versus You has become one of Europe’s most captivating and hard- working pop punk bands, as well as the source of much anticipation when news of a new release comes to light. The release of new album Moving On has been no different in raising a keen appetite and equally does not detour from the band’s knack at providing a thoroughly enjoyable romp of punk rock at its most accessible and infectious. The album does not set a new trail for the genre or band come to that, instead it simply parades twelve songs which just do what Versus You does best, capture the imagination with virulent hooks and melodies whilst thrilling thoughts and emotions with superbly crafted and lyrically insightful songs.
With a decade of stirring up audiences and fans on the impending horizon, Versus You has kept the energy and passion of their presence and intent alone impressively high over the years. Renowned for their hunger to tour and take their sound to fans, the band has been a regular attack of gigs and tours across their homeland, as well as East and Western Europe, sharing stages with the likes of NOFX, Alkaline Trio, Rise Against, White Flag, The Casualties, Bayside, Jimmy Eat World and many more. Equally their previous trio of albums as well as EPs and an outstanding split release with White Flag, has thrilled and helped thrust the band to the fore of Europe’s punk scene, even with a spate of line-up changes especially in the sticks swinging department. Fourth full-length Moving on is another commanding and deeply satisfying proposition, as said not one to change the face of pop punk but easily reinforcing Versus You as one of the leading lights.
Produced by Chips Kiesbye, the album opens with the immediately rigorously coaxing When It All Goes Down, its initial scrub of guitar an intriguing irritant to awaken attention and appetite alike. The song is soon into a feisty stroll with the rhythms of drummer Jerry Kirpach punctuating the mesh of caustic riffs conjured by Eric Rosenfeld and Dario Bruno. It is not an unrelenting attack though, the song respectful in its aggression and open in its web of easily snagging hooks with the bass of Giordano Bruno adding its own throaty lure to add extra bait to the first easily addictive blaze of sound from the album. Lyrically the song is one of many looking at band life, whilst other Rosenfeld penned themes include traveling, making friends, relationships, and life’s issues, songs never afraid to deal with unexpected things directly.
The following If The Camels Die, We Die makes the strong start look like a mere appetiser, its eager energy and urgent enticement of catchy melodies and deeply hooking snares impressively catchy. The bass finds an extra snarl to its tone which hits the spot perfectly whilst the slightly grizzled vocals of Rosenfeld only add to the raw and honest edge of the encounter. The guitar designs also standout with their imagination within the narrow but full flight of the track, a success emulated and more by the next up A Way With Words. The song is a real pop song, its compelling power pop radiance irresistible to feet and voice. Essences of its sound remind of Good Charlotte and Smashmouth, these spices teasing thoughts pleasingly whilst around them riffs and rhythms cast a more sinew tempting to the potent revelry.
Both On The Town and Be Better Than Me gets the fire in the belly raging, the first a terrific stomp of grazing riffs cut across by flames of acidic melodies as the excellent vocals explore relationships. Its successor is a mellower enticement but no less riveting in its punchy beats and rock ‘n’ roll bred suasion which brings a touch of Pinhead Gunpowder as well as irresistible unpredictable twists and excellent additional female vocals to its glory. The pair push the rising stature of the album up another step, the first especially a highlight of the album with its dramatic air and ridiculously contagious incitement musically and lyrically. Their success is matched easily by Skinny And Distracted, roguish rhythms and stabbing hooks uniting for a Boxcar Racer like treat. At ease persistently changing its urgency and sinew built gait, the track is another anthemic coaxing impossible to resist joining in with but just as strongly brings new thought provoking adventure and imagination to its body.
One That Can See is a resourceful and adventurous romp for ears and emotions, though not finding the same heights as previous songs even with its appealing sonic endeavour, whilst Stay Down, Stay Strong also lacks that same passions igniting spark though it provides a fiery rock song which is as infectiously binding as it is evocatively coloured by a melodic rock intensity. Both tracks leave appetite and reactions well fed nevertheless before Kitchen-sink Drama leaves them bloated and blissful from its insatiably contagious and bruising stomp. There is an antagonistic and defiant edge to the song which emulates from the vocals and lyrics to inspire a strong drama and depth to its presence, whilst hooks and melodies complete the enslavement with masterful and instinctive invention.
30 Pills unveils another big highlight within the album, the provocative song themed around somebody being HIV positive. Hard hitting lyrically and musically, Rosenfeld alone bringing a deeper growl to his narrative, the track roars and incites yet still employs some of the juiciest hooks and melodically drenched chords to persistently inflame ears and emotions. It is a glorious strike leaving the final pair of Still I Persist and You Are My Friend a hard task to follow. They make valiant attempts though, the first a vigorously solid slab of muscle driven punk rock with passion fuelled intensity and the closing song a slower slice of punk balladry which with Green Day like melodic potency, brings a smouldering and evocative finale to greedily embrace. It is a fine end to a great album.
Moving On is arguably a release which delivers what you expect from Versus You without the band making great strides forward but with songs that simply fill every need and want of a pop punk enticement, and with plenty of extra thrills included, it is a release which simply leaves pleasure and contentment the overriding result and that is more than good enough to unreservedly recommend the album.
Moving On is available now on Bomber Music @ http://bombermusic.limitedrun.com/products/528789-versus-you-moving-on-cd-and-vinyl-lp-and-dl in download, CD, black vinyl, and Ltd Ed vinyl versions.
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