After interviewing VerseChorusVerse (Tony Wright) at Hit The Deck back in April, I was eager to give his album a listen. It’s safe to say that I wasn’t disappointed, and the singer/songwriter hailing from Belfast flaunts his potential in this eponymous record, accompanied with a few instruments.
The first track off the record, Our Truth Could Be Their Lie, sets the mood for the album; upbeat music with rather downbeat lyrics and an acoustic/folk sound that is more honest that most music that slides into the genre of “country”. No More Years opens with a strong emphasis on the harmonica before Tony’s voice takes over and drives the music, creating a sound similar to Of Monsters and Men (albeit slightly more masculine, for obvious reasons). Third track, Help Myself, slows the album down and brings in the layered vocals, keeping up the timeless and effortless sound that had been set before. This was the first track off the album to remind me of REM, in the soft vocals, a theme which continues for several more tracks, later.
Three adds a darker side to the record; gone is the happy, upbeat melody and harmonica, and Tony’s soft voice takes a gritty turn, adding a new depth and sincerity, and although the lyrics end up being slightly repetitive, there’s a refreshing honesty in the sombreness. Personal favourite off the album comes from the seventh track, You Can’t Win Back Your Freedom If You’ve Never Been Free At All, with the sing-a-long tune and optimism-against-all-odds attitude, which would sound equally in place as a political protest or open air music festival. There’s something ridiculously infectious about the melody of this track, and you’ll probably find yourself singing along to it inadvertently.
Common Prayer is easily the slowest (and saddest) song of the record, and Tony’s ability to cover such a wide range of music really highlights his talent. The soft and sincere “lover, come find me, come save me” shows off his vocal range and indisputably leaves you wanting more. Tony has managed to create an album that moved from optimistic highs to sombre lows in a track, and it’s clear why it’s receiving so much attention. A must-listen to fans of acoustic-folk music.