Thursday 2 September 2010

In My Defence - Vertis

Vertis emerged in late 2008 and have been rising steadily since then, with an appearance on Scottish new music compilation A Sort of Homecoming along with Dirty Modern Hero and Jakil last year, as well as an Edge festival performance. The Edinburgh/Fife-based trio list Biffy Clyro, Foo Fighters and Nirvana as influences, and that's pretty much the angle to come from when approaching their new EP In My Defence.

Opener See Through This sounds like Foos classic Everlong if it was played by Biffy, and sets the scene for the rest of the EP. Vocalist Alan Gilliland-Patterson's voice sounds distinctly like Simon Neil, with a tinge of Kurt Cobain; the same can be said of his band's music: grunge-infuenced progressions squeezed into off-kilter time signatures. The overall result sounds distinctly 90's, but has enough Scottish-accented quirks to project a contemporary feel. Without You takes these influences further, bringing to mind Puzzle-era Biffy, particularly Folding Stars. The setting is arguably more accessible than Biffy, however, with Vertis choosing a more steady rock ballad format for the tune, leaving hyperactive rhythms by the road and bringing in some Jimmy Page style, unashamedly rock n' roll guitar soloing. On the other hand, the next track, Injection, follows an aggressive introduction with a hushed verse, the classic grunge dynamic prevailing as the volume claws its way back for the chorus. The title track, In My Defence, displays traces of powerpop and Twin Atlantic-esque hooks, and you get the impression Vertis have some stadium-sized ambition behind them. Unlike the big-sounding tunes, the production is stripped-back and straightforward, sounding more like a live recording, and the EP overall hints at a passionate live band becoming comfortable with their sound.

Stewart McLachlan

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