Secret Meeting score: 72
By Joseph Purcell
America’s Pacific North West has been a hot bed of musical creation for decades. Its unique landscape and way of progressive thought has emboldened a fulcrum of creativity unrivalled by many. And, with the burgeoning labels such as Sub Pop and Hardly Art continuing to go from strength to strength, it shows no sign of abating.
Versing – the self-styled ‘only boyband on Hardly Art’ – are the latest from the region to step into the light. With a skill for forging surges of guitar distorted feedback – channelling the furious delight displayed by former label mates Protomartyr – Versing’s new long play, 10000, is a captivating arrangement of power and noise. Led by the witty lyrical observations and slacker pop delivery of guitarist and vocalist Daniel Salas, the record carries more than a passing resemblance to early Sonic Youth and the more lo-fi moments of Pavement.
Much of 10000’s highlights are built around the many variations honed by the uniquely differing guitar effects extracted by Salas; the chaotic quality leaves a unique impression and it’s done entirely by design as Salas commented recently – “I like a more shambolic tone than something that sounds really clean and put together. I like there to be some screechiness to it-something that’s not right.”
From the jarring bolt of opener Entryism, to the swirling vortex of guitars on closer Renew, Versing have pieced together an album of much promise. Tethered soars through a thick melodic grunge, Violeta is a surly propulsive punk snapshot, and By Design oozes the swagger of a band looking for, finding and hitting their true stride. At points on 10000, particularly as you begin to hit the later tracks, the intensity can overwhelm and the album may have benefited from little editing. However, as a whole, 10000 is a welcome addition and an engrossing long play from the new era of Seattle based college rock.