Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Veronicas - "The Veronicas"

Artist: The Veronicas
Label: Sony Music
Cat No: 8887-50129628
Year Of Release: 21 November, 2014
Produced by: Roger Alan Nichols, Toby Gad, Josh Alexander, Dreamlab & Ruffian, Chris Loco, DNA, Alex Shield, Nellee Hooper, Martin Hansen, Sandi Chilia
Personnel: Tyler Bryant (Banjo, resonator guitar, electric guitar and vocals on "Sanctified"), Billy Corgan (Guitar on "Did You Miss Me? (I'm A Veronica)"), Anthony Egizil & Khaled Rohaim (Keyboards and programming on "If You Love Someone"), David Musumeci (Guitars and Bass on "If You Love Someone"), Alex Dezen (Guitars on "You And Me")

Running Order:

1) Sanctified
2) Did You Miss Me? (I'm A Veronica)
3) Cruel
4) Line Of Fire
5) Teenage Millionaire
6) Born Bob Dylan
7) Always
8) Mad Love
9) You Ruin Me
10) More Like Me
11) If You Love Someone
12) Cold
13) Let Me Out
14) You And Me

Genres: Electronic, Pop, Alt-Country, Rock, Dance, Adult Orientated Rock

It is a well known saying in the music industry that third albums are the most difficult of a musician's career. It's the one that either makes or breaks them into the 'legendary' league and identifies their audience. No band has known this the harder way of late than The Veronicas.

After being embroiled in a massive power struggle with their former label Sire Records in 2009 due to several staff changes in the CEO and A&R departments, the newcomers didn't know what to do with The Veronicas or even bother to lift a finger marketing them in the international market after breaking the UK and European markets. In October 2013, Jess and Lisa had decided enough was enough and took to an Australian music forum to slag the living daylights out of Sire Records. Upon their return to Brisbane, they were quickly snapped up by Sony Music which their old friend Hayden Bell (who helped them sign with Sire in 2004) is now working as an A&R head at. Jessica had mentioned on Twitter that the new album would be an eclectic affair in which they were evolving from being a simple teen pop act to one that could cater to a variety of tastes.

The album opens up with industrial drums of the sleazy swamp rock "Sanctified", in which Lisa's boyfriend Tyler Bryant contributes guitar and banjo to interspersed with some soulful wailing from Jess and Lisa. A very stark contrast to the opening tracks of their past two albums, it's one of the strongest and innovative songs that they've ever done and one of my three top tracks of the album. You can just picture this song being a favourite for pole dancers.

"Did You Miss Me? (I'm A Veronica)" features Jess' ex-boyfriend Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins on guitar with some badass rapping, bleeping synths reminiscent of fellow Brisbane band Regurgitator and some cute whistling in the chorus. The sonic guitar sounds are incredible which contrast with the dancey beat.

"Cruel" is a more brighter affair with a lively bopping beat, an 80's New Wave vibe and great power rock guitar riffing. This track was originally heard at the beginning of the video of "You Ruin Me" when Jess and Lisa are listening to it in the car on their way to the theatre.

"Line Of Fire" is dark and sensual with the girls purring the lyrics in the most sultry manner they can muster. The track was also broadcast as an audio only track on YouTube prior to the album being released. Plenty of rhymes and hooks abound in this track, and could possibly be a future single release.

"Teenage Millionaire" has a great pop/rock sound to it, and contains one of the best lyrics that they've written about being attracted to the more spiritual aspects of love over being materialistic.

"Born Bob Dylan" is a laid back ballad, but not one of the most catchiest tracks on the album. However, the lyrics are very endearing as to how they wish that they could be more expressive and poetic like Bob Dylan. There is an unobtrusive use of strings as well as some solid acoustic scrubbing.

"Always" sounds like they have borrowed a bit from the song "Always The Last To Know" by the band Emma & The Hungry Truth, but it did not make much impact on me.

I first heard "Mad Love" in 2012 at an acoustic gig that they did at Brew in Queen Street Mall. This is a great upbeat and catchy song with a singalong chorus to it.

"You Ruin Me" produced by DNA hallmarks a new found maturity in their sound as they embrace AOR. It sounds similar to The Carpenters "Yesterday Once More" and "Jar Of Hearts". This is them at their purest and emotional as Lisa sings about being used and dragged into the ground by an ex-lover and her voice comes close to cracking at times. The remix by Josh Katz issued as the B-side of the CD single sounds like he was influenced by Erasure, The Human League and La Roux when creating it.

"More Like Me" is another energetic dance rock number, although again not one of the more stand out tracks on the album.

"If You Love Someone" is going to the be the second single to be released from the album. Good soulful number with nice acoustic guitar strumming and a rousing chorus. Great message about not being afraid to tell somebody you love them if you do.

"Cold" is one of the Vfans favourites, and several were hoping that it'd be included on the album. It sounds a bit like "Portrait Of An American Family" by P!nk, and it drips with attitude and anger over having a cowardly boyfriend.

"Let Me Out" is another foray into the AOR territory, despite the gentle backing track the lyrics are about being trapped in a possessive relationship.

The closer "You And Me" opens with a cute folksy backing a bit like The Beatles "Julia" and Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind", and harmonies reminiscent of their past labelmates Tegan and Sara. The song talks about loving each other from childhood innocence and braving other changes that take place in their lives.