Verdant Vera's self-titled EP may only have five songs on it, but each track makes an impact. Any of the songs could easily be placed on the soundtrack to a film like (500) Days of Summer; the band even sounds like a twenty-five-years-later version of The Smiths. Verdant Vera does not in fact list The Smiths as one of their influences, but they do count My Morning Jacket, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and David Bowie among those who inspire their sound, which is self-described as "pop/rock and experimental/jazz, or indie rock with pop sensibilities."
Originally from Plainfield, IN, and currently based in Indy, Verdant Vera are friends with other local band Veseria - something about the V's, maybe? As a six-piece, Verdant Vera has one more person in their band than Veseria; the members of Verdant Vera include Josh Smith, lead vocals and keyboard; Zach Smith, guitar and vocals; Nathan Payne and Jake Satterfield, both on guitar; Jeremiah Maxwell, bass; and Brandon Randall, drums. According to the band's ReverbNation page, they've only been playing together since early 2011, which makes their complex styling that much more impressive.
The highlight of the EP is its second track, "Paper Champion." All of the elements of the song contribute to an overwhelming sense of inner turmoil that is still totally accessible to the listener. As the song's persona wonders how his relationship went wrong, his anguish accented by lyrics including "the flavor in your eyes, the color of your smile" and "diamond-scented perfume," all of which are not only interesting images but also reflect confusion of the senses, which either adds to or is a result of the singer's own bewilderment. The melody and background instrumentals are also dissonant, adding a tone of perplexity.
The least impressive track on the CD is "New Bazaar," if only because the instrumentals overpower the lyrics to the point that you can't understand what is being sung. Another complaint is first song, "Ready To," which begins to sound quite repetitive as it develops. Those flaws, however, do not detract much from an otherwise excellent record. If this is the kind of EP that Verdant Vera can produce, I can't wait to see what they can do with a full-length album.