Cities Made of Gin
- Cities Made of Gin, the debut album of Indianapolis based Veseria.
The debut album from Indianapolis-based rock group Veseria tells the story of every twenty-something's life; it looks back at the ubiquitous phase of restlessness and yearning for some sort of je-ne-sais-quoi in a way that freely admits that they've moved past that stage of life. In the words of vocalist Jennifer Roberts, while some of the songs (including "Jonny," "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Lessons Learned") were in fact written during a period of searching and confusion, more recent ones come from experiences the band members have had as they become "responsible adults."
The band members, consisting of husband and wife vocalists and guitarists Jennifer and Patrick Roberts, bassist Corey Lusk, pianist-organist-accordionist Jakis Strakis and drummer Jarrad Woodson, are obviously all talented musicians. The instrumentation on every song is phenomenal, which helps offset the fact that most of the songs are relatively lengthy; all the more time to savor the complex musical journey undertaken by each song. The vocal range, however, is limited on most of the songs. The lyrics, while creative and evocative, can also be problematic at times for instance, there are words that seem crammed into spaces, and the respective songs' phrasing is awkward because of it.
In order for some of the songs to make sense, I did have to reach out to the band, and they were kind enough to respond with the appropriate context. For instance, now that I know that the song "A Boat So Wide" was written for the Roberts' son and was inspired by Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, the simplicity and repetitiveness of the song's melody and lyrics (especially as compared to some of the other songs on the album) are much more understandable.
I was pleasantly surprised by the album's bonus track, "Punching Bag." The song's instrumentation was much more stripped-down, which allowed the vocals to shine through that much more. The song also utilized more vocal range, as well as more distinctive harmonies; that, along with the song's more country-folk feel, created a sound reminiscent of other male-female duos like The Civil Wars or The Head and the Heart. Maybe that's the direction their next album will take?