American Verse is a four-piece Punk Rock band from Worcester, Massachusetts that formed in 2010. Heaven’s In Your Head is their third release as a band; they also have a demo and an EP from last year up on Bandcamp. While those two were plagued by poor sound quality and still-blossoming songwriting, Heaven’s In Your Head is extremely promising and varied yet retains the raw quality of earlier works with great production.
Decay starts off the EP with a fuzzed bassline, drums, and feedback: this tells the listener that a dirty but tight eighteen minutes are about to follow. The dissonant chords of the chorus behind the brutally honest “Stop drowning in your own skin / Your worst enemy is your fucking reflection” is one of the most haunting and penetrating sounds produced in 2012. The song’s quiet first half of the bridge shows the emotional impact the narrator’s words have on himself; yet it’s only long enough for just that before it returns to the frustration and sadness for the remainder of the song.
The eponymous song sounds more upbeat than Decay, but the narrator lets the listener know that is not the case with a raw yell at the beginning (“My view of the world is skewed”), preparing one for some introspection. Heaven’s In Your Head picks up the pace and is extremely catchy and shows the band’s guitarists’ chops with great layers and riffs. Although they might not always be the focal point of the song, every note played gets the job done either as paramount or a complement.
After two thematically heavy songs, American Verse gives a breather for 25 seconds with the appropriately titled The Last Fucking Song I’ll Ever Write About You. It has an old-school, rolling-Punk sound to it and hardly ever stops but to change for the “chorus". The song is catchy and leaves the listener wanting more of the same. Yet American Verse are as smart as they are fun: they stop right after delivering the message and move on to the next song, leaving the last half-minute as possibly the crux of this EP.
What I Really Am returns the EP to the introspection of the first two songs. What’s good about the song is how well it continues off from the joke song of The Last Fucking Song I’ll Ever Write About You. What I Really Am doesn’t seem forced in its placement on the EP, but actually comes across as the natural progression from its antecedent in getting over someone. The guitars shine in this song with the dissonant lead lick and the layers on the chorus while the vocals come off as a bit whiny. Yet Matt Arsenault of A Loss For Words makes a great cameo here to be the optimism to the narrator’s realism of his existence.
Rockmandu is a great anthem to be the penultimate song. It’s a sad song played optimistically, and that’s its greatest strength. Rockmandu is reminiscent of a young and grittier Gaslight Anthem both in terms of moderately-paced Punk Rock and its subject of missing someone.
Isolated And Undeserving is an old-school Emo lullaby until it suddenly becomes a pissed-off Punk Rock song of looking to the future rather than the past. It continues American Verse’s now patented introspection with the mantra of “Maybe I, Maybe I should take time to better myself”. Right when it seems the song will return for one last chorus, the key changes and the pace picks up for a fist-pumping, mosh-inducing half-minute fully loaded with a nice solo that ends too quickly.
The only negative thing to say about this EP is that it is an EP. After listening to this release, one will immediately want to hear a full-length from American Verse that will hopefully continue what they’ve released here: heaven for your ears.
Written by Joe Wasserman