“None Of The Above”
September 24, 2013 - Epitaph
Growing up without growing stale isn’t easy—a lot more creative heat’s been expended on coming of age or chasing the flame than exploring the softer edge of maturity. That shouldn’t diminish Veara’s triumph. The Augusta, Georgia, quartet’s third album keenly weighs that moment at the conclusion of your 20s when we start to truly define ourselves while shedding naïve illusions about the world and people we’ve called our friends. From the start, it’s clear their skill’s jumped a level. The punchy power-chord charges are now delivered with greater dynamics and nuance. There’s simply more depth to the sound, whether it’s additional background instrumental layers, spurts of emocore aggression, additional harmonies or discreetly varying tempos. The obvious wood-shedding that went into these dozen tracks shines through as they trace the change we must embrace because time can’t be outlasted.
“The further we go the faster our lives pass by, life will go on and the stories will stay, leave them behind and turn to the next page,” sings Bradley Wyrosdick on carpe diem anthem, “The World Won’t Wait.” The conundrum’s deftly expressed in album highlight “None Of The Above.” The track recalls early Bad Religion as Wyrosdick ponders the fork in his future. He’s so overwhelmed, “I can’t cover it up anymore, weighing apathy or settling, I choose none of the above.” On “Don’t Call Me Lucky,” he raises a toast to not living out your dreams, and on “Paralysis By Analysis,” he schemes to escape the strictures of his mind. Meanwhile his social world’s deteriorating as friends go their “Separate Ways,” reveal the treachery of their “Fake Blood” or wither beneath the “Lens Of Truth.”
Though Veara remain primarily punk-pop, there’s a lot more variety in the approach—and not just song-to-song. Breakdowns and brief screamed segments provide additional contrast for the typically upbeat, hook-laden tunes. Other moments, like the bridge of “Lens Of Truth,” go nearly far enough in the power-pop direction to strike Fountains Of Wayne. The breaks are much more adventurous as well, as on “Separate Ways” where the moody power chord sustains are propelled by the supple percussive insistence to a slow resolve.
The downside? Standout tracks aren’t readily apparent—everything merely sounds pretty good, opposed to life-changingly great. Although the title track, the bracing “None Of The Above,” the foot-tapping “Don’t Call Me Lucky” and the triumphant closer “The World Won’t Wait” will likely quickly win fans over.