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VerseChorusVerse VerseChorusVerse (2014)

 VerseChorusVerse — VerseChorusVerse (April 7, 2014)

  VerseChorusVerse — VerseChorusVerse
Location: Béal Feirste/Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Album release: April 7, 2014
Record Label: Third Bar
Duration:     44:23
Tracks:
01. Our Truth Could Be Their Lie      3:02
02. No More Years      3:36
03. Help Myself      5:40
04. We Spoke With The Night      5:13
05. Three      6:09
06. Big Red Van      4:30
07. You Can’t Win Back Your Freedom If You’ve Never Been Free At All   3:20
08. Common Prayer      4:17
09. Unified Unity (Sing For Seeger)      4:08
10. Close Your Eyes, Fall Asleep      4:28
2014 Third Bar
Γ•   Following the solo forays of someone who has been in a successful band is often an exercise based on previous exposure to their music. Think of Ian Brown as an example; although the great man has achieved an amazing amount of solo success he has been noted as saying, in interview, that without the cult following of The Stone Roses his solo career probably wouldn’t have taken off like it did.
Γ•  However, in reference to Tony Wright‘s work for those who have never heard anything by And So I Watch You From Afar, this doesn’t essentially matter. For although the songs of debut solo album ‘VerseChorusVerse‘ have a similar intensity, that’s really where the similarities end. ‘VerseChorusVerse’ is quite a mixed bag.
Γ•  The quality of the songs remains consistently good throughout, and the tunes veer between the jaunty, jiggy end of folk, almost entering thigh slapping territory, to the intimate and maudlin.
Γ•  Some might argue in that respect Wright has created a sound not a million miles south of The Levellers, but with a subtle twist of many other influences.
Γ•  The record opens with the gushing, catchy, gypsy folk of ‘Our Truth Could Be Their Lie‘, where the resonant power and quality of Wright’s voice is first given free reign; a powerful and versatile instrument in itself, sounding somewhere between a more youthful Chris Helm and a less highly strung David McAlmont, rattling off lyrics against a quick tempo, driving background of guitar and Hammond organ, intermittent wild trumpet calls and with a loose resemblance to Cher‘s ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves‘.
Γ•  ‘No More Tears‘ is of the same sort of pedigree; equally as ‘ump pah pah’ and beginning with surging mouth organ which lends it a kind of Bob Dylan meets country rock vibe, but with eerie little Rhodes signatures in the back end of the song which give it a more reflective edge, mid-scored by rattling drum beats and bombastic guitar constructs, all framing Wright’s vocals.
Γ•  ‘We Spoke With The Night‘ begins with an opening of melancholic guitars and is a tad reminiscent of Travis‘ ‘Side‘ before the vocal rips in with a gusto equal to Jeff Buckley, but with a stealth that is slightly more earth bound than angelic.
Γ•  It could be construed that the icy ‘Three‘ is a poetic comment on Wright’s break from his previous band (sample lyric: ‘Three against one ain’t no fun unless you’re three and that ain’t me’), Wright’s fragile, pretty vocals gently wrap themselves about subtle string lines swirling around deliberately close, intermittently hammering doomy piano sentiments.
Γ•  The haunting simplicity of ‘Common Prayer‘ — just Wright’s majestic voice soaring over one lone, darkly plucked guitar — is one to savour, not a million miles away from the often down beat spectral beauty of Jandek, and a wonderful contrast to the stompingly righteous sea shanty aping ‘Unified Unity‘.
Γ•  The album ends with the upbeat, lullaby-lite ‘Close Your Eyes, Fall Asleep‘ where Wright succeeds in sounding as reassuringly warm as John Bramwell from I Am Kloot against a picturesque background of strings and guitar. A winning end to a beautiful record.
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REVIEW
Γ•  From the confident opening bars of ‘Our Truth Could Be Their Lie’ to the deliberately soporific closing lines of ‘Close Your Eyes, Fall Asleep’, Tony Wright’s accomplished debut album under the guise of VerseChorusVerse takes the listener on a captivating musical journey; one that encompasses lightness and dark; joy and grief, and everything in between.
Γ•  For his latest venture, the artist formerly known as a member of And So I Watch You From Afar, has chosen the potentially lonely, yet often life-affirming path of singer-songwriter, writing from the heart and inviting us to follow along and share the experience. Released with the support of fans via PledgeMusic, the album is steeped in belief: belief in life, love, hope and in music itself.For those who like life-affirming, foot-stomping tunes, ‘No More Years’ offers a loud and clear message that it’s vital to tread your own path through life: ‘I won’t wait no more years, so I don’t waste no more tears’.
Γ•  The pace slows with the heartfelt ‘Help Myself’, a ballad of failed romance and self-preservation: ‘I can’t help you now, but I’ll help myself, by turning my head every time you’re around … but you’re always around’.
Γ•  For me, the standout tracks on the album are the two that follow next: ‘We Spoke With The Night’, a soaring song about faith, trust and hope, ‘we took a leap with our eyes closed’; and ‘Three’, a powerful, haunting and darkly menacing track which we can surely assume refers to Wright’s departure from ASIWYFA — ‘heavy heart, leaden feet, leaden hands / places to go, people to greet / torn asunder, contract to meet / three against one ain’t no fun’.But, as so often with life, the album swiftly leads us to a more optimistic place. ‘Big Red Van’ encourages us to join together to change the future. ‘All we need is a big red van to take these plans all across the land / just think of all the things we’ll see, people we’ll meet when we sail the sea’. The message is clear; learn from others’ errors, make some of your own, and do better the next time. This track also contains a beautifully vitriolic line, possibly my favourite on the album, presumably leveled at those who wield power, but lack honesty: ‘I wish you all the luck in the world / as the story unfurls, you’ll need it’.
Γ•  Likewise on ‘You Can’t Win Back Your Freedom If You’ve Never Been Free At All’, there is a tangible sense of optimism and a call for the masses to rise up: ‘be free from your servitude and saved from your debt / all icons to fall’.The pace slows once more with a lament called ‘Common Prayer’. This is a stark but engaging track, from Tony’s audible inhalation of breathe at the song’s opening, to the haunting lyrics woven around the simple acoustic guitar: ‘The Devil don’t want me / take him, just leave me’ and later, ‘Lover, come find me / lover, come save me’.On ‘Unified Unity (Sing for Seeger)’ peace is the focus. While clearly a homage to Pete Seeger, and his famous version of what became the American Civil Rights anthem of the 1960s, ‘We Shall Overcome’, this track can be seen as a plea for peace in Northern Ireland too: ‘We can overthrow it, without a bullet, hand in hand in unison / it’s achieved by talking and not by bombing’.
Γ•  An inspiring, thoughtful, emotional, passionate album from an artist with the imagination, talent and drive to ensure that his future musical adventures will be filled with songs of hope, lives well-lived and, above all, honesty. (http://offtherecordni.com/)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToeKnee_Wright
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VerseChorusVerseVCV
Contact: davy@thirdbar.co.uk
Press: ellie@prescriptionpr.co.uk
Agent: UK & Europe — haydn@northernmusic.co.uk Ireland — dolittlepresents@gmail.com
Bandcamp: http://versechorusverse.bandcamp.com/
Γ•  VerseChorusVerse is the current moniker for Tony Wright.
Γ•  Tony Wright used to be in a band that he formed called And So I Watch You From Afar. He isn’t anymore.
Γ•  This new project finds Tony darting off brilliantly in the opposite direction to his former band, armed with a head full of melody & a soul full of fire, teasing hope out from the darker recesses of his ever changing & always fascinating musical landscape.
Γ•  VerseChorusVerse is a force of change — terra firma unexplored. Tony likes moving forward, because he knows the world is moving with him. Finding a firm alliance with an acoustic guitar, a strong acquaintance with a harmonica and even a fling with some mariachi brass, he writes words and music that come right from his heart, holding a mirror up to the world at large and seeking positivity.
Γ•  People are already paying attention, from fans who have loyally followed him from his old band to musical contemporaries he’s shared stages with, such as Michael Kiwanuka who praised Tony for his ‘powerful songs’ and admitted he’s a sucker for a harmonica player. Daniel Johnston was equally complimentary (although became slightly more excited when he decided that Tony looked like Eric Idle of The Rutles). Γ•  Aside from apparently looking like the most musical Monty Python, most sense a real classicism to Wright’s solo project, likening his new work to Neil Young, Tom Petty, and even further oldies such as Delta bluesman Skip James and folk legend Woody Guthrie. Others see the ghost of Joe Strummer, particularly via his rebellious streak, sometimes politicised lyrics and musical experimentation.
Γ•  Not limiting his new moniker to just a musical project, early 2013 saw the launch of a video project, ”VerseChorusVideo — The Inches EP”, in which 4 singles were released, all self performed and produced, featuring Tony’s directorial and acting debut. Γ•  One of the videos,”Nothing Is Easy”, was nominated for best short music film at the well respected Limelight Short Film Awards in London. The Project was a critical success and lauded in all circles concerned. This album will see more of the same as Tony continues to flex his creative talents across audio and visual platforms.
Γ•  His extensive solo gigs across the UK, Ireland and Europe have left people rapt and reeling from a particular authenticity and honesty. With an album produced by Iain Archer (Ivor Novello winner, Jake Bugg, Fionn Regan, Luke Sital Singh), and a restless desire to get out in the world to perform these songs and connect with people, VerseChorusVerse has only just started to mould its intricate shape. So start paying attention, because this is the beginning. And everyone knows the beginning is the most crucial part.
Γ•  VerseChorusVerse — All one word.
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VerseChorusVerse VerseChorusVerse (2014)

 

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