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Review: Verona Red, 'Pound'

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Verona Red
  • Verona Red

Verona Red has earned its place on the Chicago music scene with a continuously evolving sound and wildly raucous live shows Although the band's sound and lineup has changed a bit since the release of their debut album, Side Effects , in 2008, their sophomore follow-up Pound is still built upon a solid foundation of rock-n-roll.

Pound's opening track, “Kitchen,” begins with hollow doo-wop vocals that give way to a serving of in-your-face alt-county. “Toein' the Line” highlights frontman Chris Balzer’s deep, passionate vocals, with bluesy harmonica entering the mix before the short, swift song concludes. Lyrically, the song is based on the thoughts of an unscrupulous character, an opportunist who will do whatever it takes to get by.

“Big Mean Boogie” will please veteran Verona Red fans with its return to the slow-build song structure of Side Effects, its piano-and-vocals opening gradually developing into a full-blown swing-meets-rock vibe. “Sweet Rose” nods to the Black Keys in combining electrifying, swampy blues with soulful, elaborate guitar playing. Closing track “Choose Your Enemies Wisely” sees Verona Red successfully meshing their vintage sound with a touch of modern indie and punk rock.

This Friday, Verona Red will kick off a Midwestern tour in support of Pound at The Melody Inn with Phyllis, Sex Before Marriage, and Dead Beats.

Danielle covers local music for NUVO.net and IndyMojo.com.

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