I remember coming across The Verdicts for the first time at a night of young bands over at Three Wise Monkeys a while back. I was impressed at the time by the energy of the band and how the frontman really caught the audiences attention and I was curious how well this would translate to record. Well, a year after recording it, The Verdicts have unveiled Quakers Alley and the good news is it holds up well!
After a short intro, Liverpool Street (a place that, at this point, is a distant memory to me) whirs to life, the bass and tom fills pushing through guitar feedback. At times the track sounds like a more punky version of Oasis – the main chords sort of pushing the track through while guitars screech. The vocals sort of growl their way through, the line “I know I’m gonna be here for a while” repeating through the choruses. Just Another Heartbreak Away reminds me more of old school punk bands, the raw vocals working well alongside the punchy drums and faster guitars – it’s a track that I imagine will go down well with the live crowds, whenever they get a chance to gig again. The additional vocals (I can see they were done by someone called Fran, after trying to work in out and browsing their instagram) work really well in the later part of the song and give it a nice dynamic.
CO3 Misery is another more punky track, positively driven by power chords – it’s a catchy track and the second verse has quite a lot going on musically (the bassline is great, although oddly this track feels like it has a lot less low end than the earlier songs on the EP). I’m not usually one for guitar solos but the solo here fits well in context and the break afterwards with just bass and vocals is pretty cool. Alleyway sees a change of pace and feel as the distorted powerchords are exchanged an acoustic in the verses. A song about Austerity and a run in with the police it’s probably the standout track musically – the backing vocals add a lot of depth to it and there’s even strings – the band certainly have the energy to deliver the more punk tracks on the EP but this track shows another side to the band and it’s perfect as an EP closer.
Overall, I think The Verdicts have done a pretty good job of capturing the energy of their live performance and, at the same time, shown another side to their music. They’re an unashamedly political band (and who doesn’t enjoy seeing Gazette commenters getting angry about their views when they pop up from time to time!) and, for a lot of this EP, they get that message across – even if it wasn’t obvious from the lyrics the artwork kind of sums it up. I’d still urge anyone reading this who is new to the band to see them live (whenever that may end up being) because, as far as putting on a performance goes, they’re one of the best but, in the meantime, this is a very strong EP from a young local band.