VersaEmerge EP

Written by: TL on 13/02/2009 18:41:56

Recently I contributed to our archives with a somewhat delayed review of the first EP released by VersaEmerge after their pickup of their new singer Sierra Kusterbeck. Now I pretty much said what I wanted to say about the ongoing discussion of whether or not Sierra is a poor man's Hayley Williams (Paramore), in that review, so I'm not going to go into depth with that again. Suffice to say that I saw the resemblance, but I didn't see the problem, which was also partly because "Perceptions EP"'s overall female-fronted-Circa-Survive sound struck me as being far from Paramore's mainstream-friendly pop-rock.

Unfortunately for VersaEmerge, the new self titled EP narrows the gap between the two bands, and effectively it also lowers my motivation for taking Sierra and her friends in defence. The sense of sophistication that emanated from the songs on "Perceptions" has dissipated, and instead the songs on "Self Titled" have been structured much more firmly, and the result is that the band feels like a mangled version of itself. Suspicious gazes cast in the direction of VersaEmerge's new label Fueled By Ramen are in order I think. The freely soaring melodies that characterized the last EP are gone, and what's offered in replacement is perfectly hinted by the name of the intro track "Theatrics". Borrowing symphonic elements from Andrew Lloyd Webber, or dare I say it, Disney movies(!?), and gluing them superficially on the formulaic material, someone seems to be making a lame attempt at disguising how VersaEmerge is a once proud wild animal that has now been tamed into a circus pet that will more easily sell tickets to the show. It sounds like they're trying to give the band the same cinematic sound as The Receiving End Of Sirens, except the layers are missing, and instead the music is shallow enough for me to think that it could just as well have been written for Kelly Clarkson, and in fact, the band I thought would become a more sophisticated and credible version of her and Paramore, now seems to have lost a tremendous amount of sheer format compared to those artists.

Alas, listening to "VersaEmerge EP" is a quite depressing undertaking, as it leaves little room to doubt that any shade of integrity might have been left in Fueled By Ramen, is surely gone now, and as such, VersaEmerge are probably stuck on a deal that's going to guarantee their suckyness for the foreseeable future. It's not that this record is annoyingly bad or anything, but compared to what the last one made us expect, this is just completely boring and completely forgetable. And not even a solid performance by Ms. Kusterbeck is enough to do anything about that.


Download: Moments Between Sleep, Whisperer
For The Fans Of: Paramore, Kelly Clarkson

Release Date: 03.02.2009
Fueled By Ramen

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