Despite a confrontational name, Versus You are every bit positive punx with songs praising friendship, relationships, and the like. It’s not that they play bubbly music countered with cynical lyrics, but they place peppy rock that’s further emphasized by sunny reflections over a gritty pop punk sound. The band is also pretty guilty of abusing the RIYL tag on a onesheet, but I’ll spare my readers that gripe. Ultimately, Versus You are a pop punk band from Luxembourg that play Banner Pilot inspired punk, taking pop structures but fleshing them out with less focus on the chorus, instead telling a 2-3 minute story in a semi-raspy sung delivery. Unlike Banner Pilot, though, Versus You, don’t really flesh out those stories with detail and nuance but instead hit that repetition hard.
The lyrics tend to be repetitive and first-person, limiting their view to the speakers’ and placing the listener inside the world of vocalist Eric Rosenfeld. Musically, it’s pop punk to the Nth degree, with chord progressions marking the name of the game and melodicizing the format Blink 182 made so famous. The drumming is a bit stale on many tracks and there’s a resultant lack of energy permeating through the familiar-ish songs. When it kicks up a notch, as in “Kitchen-Sink Drama,” the record benefits. It’s still a hard to take Rosenfeld seriously when he sings, “I’m fucking pissed,” as he doesn’t really sound it, but the song is much better and the band as a whole feels more inspired. That energy carries over into “30 Pills,” a song about the hazards of HIV that’s told in a rare third-person, but the lyrics adopt an overly narrated feel that kills that off the momentum. There’s a metalcore-inspired guitar lick in the middle, something they try out earlier in “Stay Down, Stay Strong” as well, but it mostly feels like an awkward bridge instead of a derivation from formula.
Versus You are fine at what they do, but there are a million other bands playing very similar sounds and there’s nothing on Moving On that separates from the pack. Where they strive to get outside those borders, the lyrics, it feels like pages of a personal journal, never getting off that bedroom page and resonating with an outsider’s perspective. The record starts out with some promise in “When It’s All That I Can Do,” there’s a nice bass line in “On the Town,” and “One That Can See” has a strong melody and vocal tradeoff, but Moving On never really sets itself apart and gains momentum. Then, at the album’s close, comes the ballad titled “You Are My Friend” which flat out kills it. Take it to The Disney Channel, guys.
Versus You's album Moving On is short and sweet, but not with out its flaws. It's heartbreak music at its semi finest and the simple yet meaningful lyrics and fun brand of melodic, emotional pop punk establishes itself well with the opening track “When It All Goes Down.”
Don't be fooled by the opening track, there's a lot this album has to offer. The songs are well crafted and are different enough from each other to keep the album interesting. Unfortunately the lyrics can be a little simple, but the vocals of Eric Rosenfeld do more than enough to make up for it.
From the way this album was produced and how well done each track is, it left me expecting more from the lyrics. The songs are short enough to be enjoyed and not be tiresome or boring and, added with the simplicity of the lyrics and the brevity of the length of the songs, it makes the album a well balanced pop punk, melodic piece of music that is fun and easy to get into.
The album doesn't really grab your attention until the song “A Way with Words.” It's a catchy song the likes of Lagwagon's album Let's Talk About Feelings.
It Flows nicely from beginning to end. It's dead on. The lyrics are dejected but the melody a more cheerful mood, and they contradict each other nicely to help complete one of the album's better songs.
The background vocalist in “Better Than Me” is amazing and left me wondering, “Why doesn't she sing more?” I mean, this girl can really sing! The addition of the backing vocalist was a nice touch and really adds to the depth of the track. The song ''One that Can See'' is a microcosm of the album; it starts off slow, peaks well, and finishes a bit too slow.
“30 Pills” falls just shy of a pop punk masterpiece and would fit nicely in any Fat Wreck Chords or Nitro Records compilation. It is, without a doubt the albums best song. Here, the melody and simple lyrics work so well with each other that its almost perfect. The album picks up towards the end and, right when you think its going to finish strong, it doesn't.
Moving On has its ups and downs but it's good enough to keep you listening.
5.8 / 10
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