For an EP that’s described as “a collection of indie pop songs with subtle experimental and electronic undertones”, Static In Verona’s latest release, ‘Some Things You Knew’, seems remarkably brash. Given the apparent limitations of being a solo, self-produced artist, the EP’s creator, Rob Merz, opts for the challenge of delivering a full-on band sound with each track as tuneful and as eager to please as the last.
‘White Knuckles’ isn’t quite as thrilling as the song title suggests but it could be said that Merz’s Jon Anderson-style vocals hold up pretty well against the rollercoaster effects; peaking for the emotive, powerful chorus. Merz certainly gives the impression of a man with ambition. ‘Everything You Knew’, for example, strives for the ELO experience with epic arrangements and thick chord changes but ‘Friendly Fires’ sounds like a misfire as the song recalls the twee indie pop of Owl City. Thankfully, the artist recovers to return to more likeable indie qualities as a nagging guitar riff propels ‘Love Like Gold’ whilst ‘Loud Night/Quiet Morning’ brings in strings and backing vocals to surprisingly moving effect.
Merz’s vocals may sometimes lack the strident quality his arrangements demand but you can’t fault the intention to make big, colourful, melodic, slightly left of centre indie pop. A bit more subtlety wouldn’t go amiss next time around, though.
ELO, Owl City, Jon Anderson