White Out

White Out

by Verbow
     
 

Here's hoping a superlative band like Verbow doesn't get lost in the shuffle. White Out, the second album from the Chicago quartet, deserves to be heard, and often. Frontman Jason Narducy fashions haunting, many-hued compositions that nominally answer to the description "guitar pop" but that attain heights of beauty -- and melancholy -- not always found withinSee more details below

Overview

Here's hoping a superlative band like Verbow doesn't get lost in the shuffle. White Out, the second album from the Chicago quartet, deserves to be heard, and often. Frontman Jason Narducy fashions haunting, many-hued compositions that nominally answer to the description "guitar pop" but that attain heights of beauty -- and melancholy -- not always found within that genre's purview. Equally indispensable is cellist Alison Chesley, whose lyrical playing makes these dozen tracks soar even higher. With its coolly mechanized rhythm track, White Out's leadoff cut "Dying Sun" grabs you at the outset and doesn't let go, while the first single "New History" offers a deceptively sunny hook, a wry, sick-of-the-relationship-game setup ("I skipped three more weddings/I don't want me around"), and cautiously optimistic conclusion ("This time I'll write it in ink/My new history"). "Sweet Felicity" is flat-out gorgeous, with a yearning, wordless chorus that brings shivers, but "Happy to Be Away," which constructs angular guitar-cello designs around insistent, building-to-release verses and chorus, is White Out's most dynamic track. There isn't a single nondescript cut on this album, which ends with a lovely Narducy-Chesley duet, "Crest of Mary." Once Verbow get their hooks in you -- and they will -- you'd do best simply to surrender.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Joe Viglione
Verbow is quite a find. In this world of derivative pop, the songs and performance of Jason Narducy have a personal stamp that begs repeated listenings, and an edge to move this music beyond the ordinary drone. "Dying Sun" is a neat sci-fi blitz with odd guitars, kind of like U2 submerged in water. The lyrics suggest Brian Wilson overdosing on Bob Dylan's "New Morning" rather than -- as legend has it -- "Be My Baby" on his tape loop. Alison Chesley's cellos give Verbow a distinct flavor -- something pioneer John Cale has infused into his live shows: the string quartet. There's an element of Cale-meets-Tracy Bonham: not power pop, but powerful pop. Bam. Just when "Dying Sun" has you lulled into one mood, "New History" continues the sentiment, upping the ante with more subdued energy and lyrics that are beyond Patti Smith -- maybe more like a psychedelic Janis Ian. Couple those lyrics with a wall of sound and really charged production by producer/engineer Brad Wood, and you have a cosmic pop disc that deserves attention. "I'll Never Live By My Father's Dreams" is woven into this fabric (excellent song placement), kind of like a lost Tommy James riff coated with British psychedelia. "Four Channel Town" is another tune driven by a pop riff, a nice change of pace from the subdued "Garden." Narducy's vocals cut right through all the madness, a good contrast to the elegant musicianship. And playing rock this hard "elegantly" is not easy. Verbow has a driving vibe without a formula, which is unusual -- maybe 50 paces to the left of Oasis. The band's originality may keep it in the underground. That would be a shame. Music this good can educate the masses, but the glass ceiling created by commercial radio tends to keep sounds like this nice 'n rare.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/18/2000
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646931424
catalogNumber:
69314

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Verbow   Primary Artist
Alison Chesley   Cello
Brad Wood   Synthesizer,Drums,Background Vocals
David Suycott   Drums
Chick Wolverton   Percussion
Rick Barnes   Percussion
Jason Narducy   Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
Lennie Dietsch   Bass
Matt Hammon   Background Vocals
Charles Kim   Pedal Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Chris Bauer   Engineer
Alison Chesley   String Arrangements
Ted Jensen   Mastering
Brad Wood   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Doug McBride   Engineer
Joshua Shapera   Engineer
Doug Erb   Art Direction
Rick Barnes   Engineer
Jason Narducy   Programming,Producer
Chad Adams   Engineer

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