VERSUS YOU - The Mad Ones

Versus You - The Mad Ones

15 songs
47:38 minutes
***** ****
Granny / Fond Of Life


Only a good year after their second album, local punk rockers Versus You are already back with a new CD, notwithstanding the fact that their vocalist Eric Rosenfeld even found the time for a solo record in between. The third record always has the aura of a make-it-or-break-it moment, and Versus You definitely surpassed themselves this time. Combining the abrasive energy of the debut with the melodic finesse of the successor, The Mad Ones manages to entertain flawlessly for fifteen straight rounds.

The opener Less Guts makes for a perfect start with its catchy chorus and Eric singing less aggressively than in the past. The following Accidental sees a tougher band, with scratchier vocals and powerful guitar riffs. From here on, the quartet alternates between slower, more emotional tracks and faster, shorter punk rockers that never fail to fulfil their expectations, like Everybody Knows Everything with an intro not unlike early Ramones, or Touch A Lot which could be an early, lost Weezer song. There are also plenty of airplay compatible pieces that are testimony of the band’s maturity process. Most surprising is the final Seatbelts, with six and a half minutes so far Versus You’s longest song, a perfect melancholy way to conclude an excellent third album.

Although it seems as if Versus You needed a new drummer for every new album, they keep growing steadily, and have delivered their best statement yet. Eric’s lyrics are poetical and playful, although immersed in a darkness full of references to diseases and injuries. Charel Stoltz’s production is masterful, proving that he works best with artists who have reached already a certain level. The Mad Ones combines elements of melodic punk rock with alternative rock of the Nineties, a genre that was extremely popular fifteen years ago. The splendid songwriting makes this more than a derivative formal exercise, and in times where many bands are just following current hypes with the hope of getting a slice of the cake, it should be desired that Versus You’s timeless rock music will find its fans also outside the confined country they live in.

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