On their sophomore album, Voyager, Indianapolis rockers Veseria unload an everything-and-the-kitchen sink spirit into the recording, and, impressively, the five-piece rockers hit their mark time and again.
Voyager is the distinct sound of a band willing to take risks and chase personal truths across nearly the entire spectrum of rock-based music. Their debut album, Cities Made of Gin, touted plenty of folk flourishes with Celtic echoes, while Voyager finds the five-piece expanding their palette to a degree that can be near dizzying on first listen. From one song to the next, Veseria hopscotch between emo bombast done right ("Children of Houdini"), ominous guitar rock anthems ("The Dastardly," "Smoke and Mirrors"), harmonized pop-punk ("12 to3"), melodic folk ballads ("Seminary Song III," "Hendricks County"), a drunken barroom jaunt ("In The End"), a flirtation with rap-rock ("F=MA (All Your Forces)"), and a devastatingly gorgeous album closer that can hang with the most soulful gut-punches of Angel Olsen and Fiona Apple ("Maybe I'm Deaf, Maybe I'm Blind").
Rooted in the tandem vocal core of husband-and-wife songwriters Jen Roberts and Patrick Roberts, Veseria simultaneously look inward and outward, mining emotional territory for relatable appeal. The result is high-wire dramatic tension that pulls at the heartstrings and prods the mind, while still inciting heads to bang and bodies to move. If Jen Roberts (guitars, vocals), Patrick Roberts (guitars, vocals), Corey Lusk (bass), Jake Strakis (piano, organ, accordion, vocals) and David Bailey (drums) weren't fully in sync with each other throughout all the twists and turns, Voyager could have routinely veered into limp melodrama or, worse, a haphazard mess. Voyager may be a hodgepodge of styles that sometimes plays more like a soundtrack than your average band's new album, but Veseria are out to prove they are anything but an average band. The thirteen songs taken as a whole show Veseria triumphing with an underdog brand of chameleon charm and an exploding heart of genuine emotion. For fans of rock and roll of all shades, Voyager should be a local effort not to be missed.