Verona Grove – The Story Thought Over
Record Label: Republic
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Please tell MTV to wipe their feet at the door. Having seen Verona Grove banners all over this very website, one would be ambitious (in a rather pessimistic sense at that) to make the assumption that the group would be a made-for-TV power pop trio only one laughable music video prototype away from having their name on the chests of adolescent females all across the country. To be quite honest, I immediately discarded this band on first listen and, knowing well it was something I'd heard several times before, continued to listen only out of ethical obligation in correspondence with this review. If you haven't already picked up on the foreshadowing, I have had a subtle change of heart concerning Wisconsin's Verona Grove and their debut album The Story Thought Over.
Well versed in the art of separating trend-hopping fundraiser music from an actual attempt at transcending the blurred boundaries of one's chosen genre, I soon established that Verona Grove by no means do either. What they are able to do is simply outclass the vast portion of groups in the power pop genre; while they don't create anything that would inspire any kind of musical revelation or epiphanic perspective, they are simply very good at what they do. Enveloped in the shadows of such bands as Cartel, Fountains of Wayne, and Motion City Soundtrack, the band is able to produce solid (though on the repetitious side) single worthy tracks like "Everything You Dreamed" and "Goodbye Surrender," inject a little bite with tracks such as "I Haven't Got Much (But I'm Getting Somewhere)," and after it's almost over invoke a bit of hope in the eyes of the critical listeners with the album's last track, "Chances." The soft piano-fronted pop ballad takes on a much more mature sound and, in a small sense, sets aside the predictable chorus lines. As far as musicianship goes, the only real commendable aspect is the drumming, which I felt was leagues above any other instrumental component.
Whether I can recommend this album is very much dependant on the listener. If you're a fan of fun, slightly techno-influenced radio pop-rock, I would highly suggest you buy The Story Thought Over. However, on the other hand, if you're one of the AP members that pride themselves on intellectually potent music such as Thrice and Brand New, I would be much more hesitant to yield such promotions; in fact I'd strongly discourage the purchase. Even though I doubt Verona Grove's debut effort will make many more appearances in my musical rotation, I will go out on a limb and predict that this group will bust onto the scene and be the next big thing. I'm calling it - mark my words.