When an artist wants listeners to connect with his pain, loss and love, it’s hard not to feel a sense of cynicism. After all, isn’t this what the majority of singer/songwriters try to do? Step forward then Joey Verskotzi from Minneapolis whose full blooded, heart on sleeve approach is effective, if a little OTT.
The first thing that strikes you about Verskotzi is his crystal clear voice, the second is the big production. ‘Give It Rest’ toys with key changes and pure vocals in much the same way as Death Cab For Cutie. If there is a flaw it’s that too much is going on for one song and it even finishes off with a guitar solo flourish. ‘Sell My Soul’ switches between falsetto and deep tones whilst the instruments swoop between stentorian keyboards and melodramatic percussion. Infact, Verskotzi only really trims down the arrangement for the finale ‘Fountain’ but he still strains every vowel for maximum emotion. However, at the centre of the EP he finds the middle ground between ambition and depth; ‘Silver And Gold’ is strident without being showy and its chorus is held together by a strong hook.
Although obviously blessed with a mighty set of vocals, the main quality Verskotzi lacks is restraint. However, one must remember this is his debut EP and he is eager to demonstrate his qualities for maximum effect. Next time, a little more subtlety would be advised.
Death Cab For Cutie, Andreas Johnson