This is the new band put together by Ella and Jesse Hooper, late of Killing Heidi. It’s a four-song EP and is being sold very much as Ella ‘growing up’ and maturing as a performer and a songwriter. Ella herself has said, “We’re starting from the start, and – personally, from a songwriting perspective – as an adult. I feel so happy and inspired. This doesn’t feel like an evolution, it feels like a new beginning.”…
Ella strikes me as pretty popular out there, popping up regularly on shows like RockWiz and Spicks and Specks, so there should be a fair bit of interest in this collection. Certainly she is a great front person and I must admit to being a fan of her voice. Basically I wish her well. And if that all sound like a precursor to some fairly heavy criticism, then it is.
These four tracks are disappointing. Not bad — with some nice bits — but strangely lacklustre. There’s just nothing here that raises the temperature or makes you really want to tell people to go out and buy it. Is it just a production problem? Maybe. Watching Ella do one of the songs live on RockWiz the other day, it came across pretty well, better than the recorded version, but I doubt that is the only problem. The whole thing is a bit warmed over; there is something a bit True Blood about it, straight from the microwave, not fresh, and it left me going meh.
Having said all that, I’d also say there is evidence of some potential. Take a listen to ‘Forever More’ over on their MySpace site. It basically exhibits the sort of blandness I’ve been talking about, but there is in it, about halfway through, a really lovely middle eight that lifts and transforms the entire track and suggests that the Verses might just have a spark of something decent in them.
Also on the positive side, based on the RockWiz anecdote mentioned above, I’d say that they are probably going to sound good live and that maybe a bit of hard touring will help them find their feet and give them a chance to develop. And as I say, she is a great vocalist.
Anyway, for me, this is all a bit so what? but with enough in there to make me reluctant to write them off completely.