On the Verge by Vissuda came out nearly a year before the writing of this review. And i had a copy before then -- this is one of the many (many, many) records that get emailed to EvilSponge by musicians desperate for our approval.
This is one of those records that i listened to, but was not quite sure if i liked. I have a stack of notes ranging from glowing to confused, all added to a .txt file on my computer. So i did not know what to think.
You see, Vissuda is a band from Chicago. I don't know too much about the band except that their FaceBook (and the bio that i got emailed with this promo) states that the "members have been a part of the Chicago music scene for over fifteen years". Okay, so a bunch of guys who have played in other bands that i probably have not heard of. Okay. Names are never listed, but that's fine.
Aside from their mysterious makeup, the music is kind of eclectic. At times the band channels Radiohead at their most pompous, at other times they have the strained intimacy of The For Carnation, and at other times they rock in a distorted computer-mangled manner like Nine Inch Nails with a different vocalist.
It's an odd mix, and sometimes when i listen to this it really works. But other times i find it a little overly dramatic. I guess that has a lot to do with how my mood interacts with the music here.
And i feel that i must point out that the music here is masterfully recorded. Vissuda did a great job of recording clearly and layering well. No instrument is out of place, and it sounds really good. I mean, really good. Whoever mixed this knew what they were doing.
So: an odd juxtaposition of sounds that interacts with my own moodiness a little more than many other records. But well done, very well done. They know what they are doing and had the good fortune to track down a really good engineer.
I want to mention a few specific tunes here. First is In Threes, where Vissuda get their Radiohead on. It starts with a strummed acoustic and a whispered, gasping voice. Then it gets noisy, with keys and electric guitar grinding along and the voice a little buried in the mix. Nice, and they are giving it away on their website (have to join mailing list), so you can judge for yourself.
That download link also contains the song Twice, which is a very different song. While In Threes was lethargic, Twice is spastic, the drums thudding nicely and a shaky egg driving the rhythm. The whispered, gravelly voice works well on this one.
Not for free download, but i also really like the almost seven-minute opus The Day You Were. This is an eerie song, the voice subdued, the guitars a light chugging as a Theremin drives the song along. It's pretty.
Overall, though, this is well done and sounds great. This band knows what they are doing, and they do it pretty well.