With his days in And So I Watch You From Afar long behind him, Tony Wright’s musical about turn as VerseChorusVerse has seen him provide his own take on contemporary Americana music, the result being an intriguingly eclectic fusion of everything from folk to bluegrass, to rock n’ blues to mariachi band music. Adopting a somewhat Led Zeppelin IV, Neil Young & Crazy Horse approach, Wright fully embraces his venture into new territory, his adopted sound wonderfully encompassing some intricately diverse instrumental backing.
As was his trademark during his time with ASIWYFA, he emphasises melody and rhythm through relentless energy, a trait that dovetails superbly with this chosen material. Upbeat, folk-inspired songs like ‘Our Truth Could Be Their Lie’ and ‘Unified Unity’ are augmented by rousing blues rock anthems like ‘Big Red Van’, while Wright finally gets a chance to demonstrate his accomplished, sometimes eerie, vocals on more sombre tracks like ‘Three’ and the haunting ‘Common Prayer’ as well as on dreamy, understated ballads like ‘Help Myself’ and ‘Close Your Eyes, Fall Asleep’.
Pop songs like ‘You Can’t Win Back Your Freedom’ and ‘No More Years’, although jovial and catchy, represent arguably the weakest point of VCV’s repertoire, while some of the album’s lyrical content leaves room for improvement, but this is a small black spot on what is a refreshingly versatile record. While ASIWYFA fans are sure to bemoan the lack of raw power and incendiary rhythm they have come to expect from Wright, there’s no doubting the ingenuity exhibited by VerseChorusVerse in creating this elaborate, yet highly confident, debut. A sure statement if there ever was one.