Versus You / White Flag

Levitate The Listener (Split)

Written by: TL on 18/08/2011 23:14:07

It's really comical: the night after whining about my dislike for split records, not only does the next record in my pile turn out to be another split, but the bands responsible - that would be Luxembourg's Versus You and Los Angeles' White Flag - have also gone a step further and taken another page out of the "Manual of how to piss off a Rockfreaks reviewer": They've shared their record in .wav format, which takes forever to download from their site and shits on the storage constraints of most portable music players.

So yeah, way to put me in a bad mood before I even hear the record guys, but I guess I'll at least try to be fair anyway, so let's get started with what the bands on offer are like. They're quite similar actually, as both play raw, mostly fast, traditional punk-rock. Versus You immediately give me vibes of the likes of Bayside, The Offspring and especially The Lawrence Arms, and White Flag aren't too different, as The Lawrence Arms are still in place, along with a band such as Rancid, considering how they're more prone to switch up the tempo and even throw in different elements, from ska for instance, on occasion.

Listening to the split however, I have to wonder if a) these bands are just not very good, or b) I'm not nearly punk rock enough to appreciate what's on offer here. The reason is that both bands sound so generic and low-profile, even for the genre, that it would be hard to tell where one stops and the other begins on the record. Sure both play their styles faithfully enough, avoiding moments of decisively poor taste, but at the same time neither seems to have hooks or personality even remotely good enough to warrant them a second listen. Furthermore, the record's production values are average at best - I'd even say it sounds rather old fashioned, and not in a good way - meaning you can make out all instruments and vocals, but none of them have a particularly impressive presence.

The fact that I can easily think of other punk rock bands that have impressed me a whole lot more on their debut EP's, only reinforce me in the belief that neither Versus You or White Flag have the necessary good ideas or songwriting talent they'd need to go anywhere with their bands beyond the local circuit. At least not yet. I realize that I've gone to virtually no depth at all in providing analysis to back up my view, but the truth is that already on my second listen I found myself bored shitless and wanting to listen to something with just a smidge of either ambition or contemporary relevance. And that's not what this split delivers. It delivers safe, rather uninspiring and straight forward punk-rock, for the diehard genre fans who want more of the same and piss on innovation. So I'm giving it a shitty review, because I don't like wasting my time, and when it comes to this split, neither should you. There are infinitely more interesting things out there awaiting your discovery.

Download: The Mad Ones, The Witch
For The Fans Of: Bayside, The Lawrence Arms, The Offspring, Rancid
Listen: Versus You / White Flag

Release Date 04.07.2010
Longbeach Records

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