Combined with Americana guitar flourishes and subtle vocal twangs, Verdes brings just the right amount of cock to its collage of postgrunge and 20th-century hair/arena rock. Imagine the Eagles’ or Jackson Browne’s country tints punctuated by an alt-rock radio sheen. The heartland flares are well placed, bringing an earthen warmth necessary to contrast the ozone-layer vocal feats and heady feel. The guitars pull it all together, molding the songs with well-placed fingers, gliding through alternating tender and aggressive waves of sound. And the vocals, well, let’s just say Jeff Buckley—a comparison not made lightly—would have smiled, especially on hearing the first track, “Esopus Creek.” Strange bedfellows emerge throughout the record, both in sonic influences and vocal inflections. Tom Petty tangos with Candlebox on “Back Again”; Matchbox 20 merges with the Stones’ Exile on Main Street on “Outbound.” These are the alt-radio songs you hate to love, mated with the `70s Americana rock greats some of us grew up on.
Well-written and catchy, the songs on the New Paltz-based Verdes’s first EP hold your attention. The musicianship is effortless and confident and makes it easy for the production and mastering to shine. In these days of DIY ethos and basement studios it is entirely refreshing to hear a nicely balanced and polished-just-right recording, especially on the hard-to-come-by, but imperative, bass and drums. Whether played through the computer speakers or the hi-fi, the music here retains its quality. www.verdesmusic.com.