The Verts - High Noise Low Resolution.
Released 2022 on Just Another Guy Records Reviewed by Kate 15th July 2023 Buy the album digitally here: https://jangr.bandcamp.com/.../verts-high-noise-low...
The Verts are:
Sergey Bogdanov - vocals Roman Semyonov - guitar Vitaly Andreev - guitar (on all songs except ‘Death Rider’ and ‘Aloha From Hell’) Andrey Dukin - drums (on ‘Death Rider’) Pavel Hvostov - drums (on all songs except ‘Death Rider’ and ‘Aloha From Hell’) Denis Ivanov - drums (‘Aloha From Hell’) Stas Gluharev - vocals (‘Aloha From Hell’) Sergey Gavrilov - guitar (‘Aloha From Hell’)
The debate will rage forever about who the best psychobilly band are, or who created the genre. If you’re in Russian scuzz and trash masters the Verts, the answer is simple: it’s the Cramps. While outright covering a couple of Cramps numbers on this LP, which is half live recording and half studio album, Lux Interior and Poison Ivy’s fingerprints are all over this grimy gem of an album.
Death Rider - With an intro like a rocket taking off before it slips into distant, heavily accented vocals, this is a fuzzy guitar epic that creates atmosphere from distortion and twists it like a walk on Death Row.
The Crusher - The Stingrays’ original is mellowed and flattened into echoing joy. It’s so much more chill than Cal ever intended and the soundtrack to thumbing your way through a stack of vinyl records in a basement.
Lullaby - Sadly not a cover of The Cure, but that’s the only real complain to have with this ultra=primitive, high-speed proto-psychobilly delight. There’s speed, there’s howls and there’s a tweaking intensity to the whole number.
Primitive - Discordant voices rattle through the darkness over a clockwork guitar line to create a surfy and sinister potion.
Get Back - Feral shouting in Russian make this track seem alien and unsettling in a very punk way. It’s deliberate and destructively avant garde, and makes you want to wear a crusty leather jacket.
Green Fuzz - A cover of a cover, and you know the Verts are channelling the Cramps version rather than the sixties original. The fact the Verts are more than capable of anarchic, chaotic prettiness like on this number makes the other tracks seem like more of a statement, and it’s a song that gives you instant cool points by listening to it.
The Way I Walk - Honestly, these slightly meta versions of songs the Cramps already reimagined are really interesting. Of all the songs from the Cramps back catalogue, they picked the ones with the most retro appeal while also having elements which can be dragged apart, piece by piece. It’s a slow, angry, degenerated nightmare cover that I love.
Long Live Antichrist - If you guessed ‘rapid acoustic wizardry’ as the best description for this track, then you win a prize! This is how I imagine buskers on the Moscow metro would sound just after the fall of the USSR and I’m into it.
Little Red Riding Hood - This time we’re taking on Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs for a slinky, furtive nightmare running through a post industrial woodland. You can only give massive respect to the vocals on this one since the layering effect adds a sense of menace to proceedings.
Save It - Onto the live half of the LP, and the Verts take on another track from ‘Off The Bone’ is fresh and so raw it’s practically bleeding. The drumming is so very minimal and DIY which only highlights the fun of the guitar flashes.
Attack of the Zorchmen - Taking on the iconic track by Mr Lewis is no easy task, and while they do stick quite close to Nigel’s original, it’s the underground squat spirit which they bring to the song which makes it magic.
Nighttime Sindicate - The Verts really know their stuff about first wave psychobilly and they’re proving it by attacking with a cover of the P.O.X. Again, they’ve captured the spirit of the original and deviated only slightly to add a layer of lo-fi dirt over the top.
Antichrist And Devilkicks - Sticking with German psycho originators the P.O.X as their inspiration, this is my favourite track on the album. It digs up the kind of sludge that belongs in a landfill but layers this playful guitar over the top and finally lets a really growling bass join the party. Plus, there are so many evil screams that any real menace is washed away in favour of haunted house shenanigans.
Goo Goo Muck / Bikini Girls With Machineguns - heading back to familiar territory, these two songs are mashed together with style and flair that’s unexpected from a band who use this level of distortion in everything they do. No complaints here about the level of drama in their presentation, or the inclusion of even more Cramps.
Aloha From Hell - Recorded in rehearsal, it’s a very upbeat, Stooges-influenced take on the Cramps number. The way the Verts capture a setting and a zeitgeist in everything they do is phenomenal.
If you believe that psychobilly peaked in 1988 and most modern bands just use way too much production, then you are guaranteed to be a Verts fan. This is an album that throws reverence out the window and stomps on it, and drags you back to a place where your turn-ups had to be the right height and your creepers had to be ready to wreck.