(Here was the first review - it has since been updated - please read all of it though.... - Ed)
Now this is new territory for ATTIWOLTMOWOS - a review of something that is not going to be in the shops for a while! This is sort of scary and weird, but don't worry - we will plough forward and continue with the review. This is the first album to be released by VerseChorusVerse (aka - Tony Wright) who we have reviewed on here before (see the VCV EP review which I have linked just there, and purchase/listen to it!!!) so we are familiar with his work before. Now a few months ago, on the Pledge Music website, VCV put up a pledge campaign for his new album which has recently closed. For people that pledged (like yours truly here), on 15 July the album was released as a download. Now the album is not getting a physical release until late September/Early October, so how is this album, has it delivered on the pledge and what is it like?
Musically this is a bigger experience than with the ep, not saying the ep is poor; just that there has been an improvement. The first ep is charming and wonderful, but this is a step up. Most of the song here are with a full band and it has just enhanced the experience that is VCV. The depth of songs such as "We Spoke With The Night" and "Our Truth Could Be Their Lie" just cannot be underrated. The album is driven on by Tony Wright's vision. This is his truth and by deity is it not a shining example of great song writing. Some moments of this album don't reach the height of the stand out tracks - "Help Myself" and "Common Prayer" are the weakest tracks on the album for me, but this is not to say they are poor. Quite from it, they are of a stellar quality - "Common Prayer" is a slow haunting ballad and "Help Myself" is a slow banjo country ballad which is shared with a lovely female backing (no idea who it is, but she harmonizes with VCV very well. So if they are the weakest tracks, how about the rest of the album?
Well, to give you the short answer - this is superb. The album as a whole is a wonderful experience which I hope to hear live one day from Mr Wright. But whilst I'm not going into each song, I want to highlight a few tracks. Firstly when I first heard "We Spoke With The Night", I thought I had heard the best song Tony had wrote. It is a slightly rockier number compared to what he usually does and brings the whole band vibe to the forefront and reminds me of a band from the North East of England called The Rye who were in existence in the late 90's and were one of my favourite acts so finding a song which reminds me of them is a personal joy here. Secondly, as stated before, this album as a whole does not have a weak track, they are all wonderful. And finally, I want to talk about the track called "Three". Apart from the fact it should have been the third track on the album (joke Tony ;-) ) this is quite possibly a contender for best song of the year, let alone best song on the album. It sounds like nothing else I have heard, imagine Nine Inch Nails gone folk - it is dramatic, haunting and when it kicks in with its odd time signature and the vocals that could tempt an angel out for a pint, it is the jewel of the album. Seriously, wait till you hear this track.
So, final thought - well, it is a brilliant album that has been released here. Unlike some of the other projects which I have seen on Pledge Music, it has felt a lot gentler – not as ego driven, a lot more natural and personal. Tony has been very contactable during the pledge and delivered everything upon the correct date. I have really enjoyed listening to this album, it is perfect for the summer, and I am sure it will be a really winter warmer as well. Beautiful.
Since I originally completed this blog, the album has been released to the great public. Also, as outline in December, "Three" was indeed the ATTIWLTMOWOS 2013 song of the year! Just briefly I will have a look at each track as well (I have changed my style a little and the OCD in me needs to do this....
"Our Truth Could Be Their Lie" is a fantastic stomping opening track; the organ in the back ground brings the guitar and energy which makes it a wondering opening track. You can feel the passion in the track and the lyrics are wonderful as well. "No More Years" is a jaunty song which has the fingers clicking along to a brilliant number. The song feels like it is about aim for freedom after years of being in a trapped situation. I still get that initial shiver of joy I did when I first heard it last year, it is one of the best numbers on the album. "Help Myself" is next and the mood is slowed down with a slide guitar and backing vocals with Katie Richardson. More reflective that the first two, it shows the softer side of VCV. It sort of reminds me of the time I saw him supporting Jonah Matranga in Newcastle, it was a great gig and the laid back feel of the song is very much like that show. When I first wrote this blog I said it was one of the weakest tracks on the album; well I was wrong on that one.
"We Spoke With The Night" needs to be shared with the world, it is a tale about a special lady and the music is just as special. It has such an epic feel that it was dangerously close to being the top song of the album. Note that I say it was almost the top song of the album - that title goes to the magnificent and wrongly placed "Three" (still think you missed a trick there Tony - Ed). This seems to be a tale about Tony leaving the band And So I Watch You From Afar. It has a mournful and heartbreak tone, as I stated before the music sound like how I imagine Nine Inch Nails if they went folk and it is still utterly breathe taking to this day. I need to get this played on the radio again very shortly. "Big Red Van" follows the dynamic duo and again it feels like it is talking about leaving ASIWYFA, it is very positive and I love the combination of lyrics and slow stomp that is on offer here.
The superbly long titled "You Can't Win Back Your Freedom If You've Never Been Free At All" is a protest song and what a protest song it is. Telling it like it is and it does it with a smile on the face. Fuck Billy Bragg, this is the protest I can get behind. "Common Prayer" is strange, eerier and dark. It is simple and effective, but it is one of the darkest moments of the album. It may not be one of my favourite moments of the album, but I can see the purpose behind it. I have no doubt that this will send shivers up and down the spines of people all around the country. "Unified Unity (Sing For Seeger)" is another quite and simple number, calling for a peaceful revolution to the problems that Tony sees in the world. Again, it is a great protest song and incredible positive. Ending the album is "Close Your Eyes, Fall Asleep"; this is a beautiful lullaby that ends album on a graceful and gentle moment.
My feelings towards this album have not changed since I first reviewed it, I find it incredibly engaging and beautiful created. Tony has made a stunning album, toured the UK and even played festivals as well. I really hope he can make it far with this album (and hopefully with other works that are to come). So as it was when I did the first review - one word for this album; beautiful.
8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heartTop track - Three
You can purchase the MP3 version of the album on Amazon here
You can keep up to date with VCV activities on his Facebook page here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
Here is a link for our Deezer users
Here is the official video to "Three" & a live performance of "We Spoke With The Night"