I was lucky enough to see the Black Peaks with Heck this year in London and even luckier that despite Southern trains best efforts I managed to get to the gig in time to catch This Be The Verse in the support slot for the two! I had heard the Consequences EP previous to this and was not sure what to expect, it was an interesting EP but I was unsure of how the ‘band’ would come across live, ‘Consequences’ sounding more of a solo and single-handedly recorded project rather than a fuller sounding band effort. Despite this, This Be The Verse were astounding, they took to the stage a bundle of energy with a sound that forced the attention of the slowly growing crowd in the venue.
I’m now sat here listening for at least the tenth time today their debut and self titled album and I’m happy to say, for the most part, that it lives up to the expectations I was left with that evening! Discounting the intro this is a ten song album with a much greater diversity of sounds than the previous EP which focused mainly on an industrial soundscape.
Intro ’00’ builds in volume playing a dis-tuned radio into a crescendo of noise before the first track ‘Stubborn Youth’ kicks in with a flurry of guitars that will leave you bouncing round the room. The energy of their stage show is present throughout this and ‘The Wrong Road’, the latter having some beautiful playoffs between the clean, almost spoken and shouted vocal styles whilst the latter has a bouncy rhythm throughout which is sure to be a crowd pleaser. ‘Consequences’ is one of two tracks from the original EP, given the re-recording process and sounding a lot fuller for the experience. In-fact, this really pleased me, when I first heard the tune on the EP, because of its sparser and more electronic sound it did sound more like a missing NIN track but here it sounds a lot fuller and ‘live’ which gives it more body.
‘Adieu’ slows the pace perfectly after the high intensity of the first few tracks which uses a variety of vocal styles over a simplistic backing to worm its way into your brain, just when you think its going to go crazy it does the opposite, until you get into that pattern and expect it, then it twists again! ‘Unveil’ is my favourite of all which thankfully has been turned into a single, again it has the underlying industrial and solid feel but has a great build and anthemic chorus which drops to a beautiful midsection!
The second half of the album is quite different to the first, whereas the sound of the first six songs seems to be that of a full band, the latter half of the disc is more electronic based, which is no bad thing but I can’t help thinking it may have been better to intersperse the two sounds rather than have two separate halves which is how it comes across. ‘My O.S.T’ and ‘Alone’ are rather slow, brooding industrial tunes and only ‘How Can You Sleep’ regains the tempo of the first half of the album.
The highlight of the second half for me is the re-recorded version of ‘Ungrateful Me’ which sounds like a tune that Depeche Mode would be kicking themselves for not coming up, when not listening to music throughout the day its this tune I found myself returning to in my head. ‘I am Charlie’ completes the album, starting with an acoustic guitar and low solo vocal which builds towards a great chanted ending which thankfully ends as the music started, loud, bouncy and as a band! …as a warning, those of faith may not be a fan of this particular tune, but like them, I don’t care!
Overall this is an impressive debut which I have listened to countless times and not because I had to for the sake of writing a review but because I genuinely keep going back to it for a hit. There are some great tunes, ideas and melodies on this album which deserve your ear, I can see so many influences, from Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, SPineshank to the Black Peaks and The Pineapple Thief whether intended or not. This Be The Verse were a hugely impressive live act when I saw them recently and this album has ensured I will be following their progress in the future, the only issue I have with it is not the variety but the pace and balance in which this was presented.
I recommend you grab a copy, go here: https://tbtvband.bandcamp.com/album/this-be-the-verse
FFO: Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Black Peaks, The Pineapple Thief, Spineshank