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Verona Grove
Verona Grove EP
Pat's Record Company
www.veronagroveband.com


'Striking while the iron is still hot' is a sentiment that has been carried down from musical generation to musical generation. If band X can make a living, then surely I can if I make music just like them. And as with every musical fad like this, there are a selected few that stand out as the founders of the movement, followed by a countless collection of forgetables that merely exist in the shadows, occasionally sparking a singular hit before fading off into has-been obscurity. For this generation, the market has been saturated to death with pop-punk bands that used to preach teenage angst and misunderstanding, but now seem more preoccupied with what's the smallest size jeans they can squeeze into and if their shirts are selling well enough at the local mall.

Now yes, this does seem incredibly harsh and unfair and it's not to say that the musical landscape of today has become dry and arid (though some may argue so). It's also not to imply that bands like Wisconsin trio Verona Grove are out to become another mindless sheep in search of a quick buck, but it does cross one's mind after hearing the bands four-track EP.

In a genre that has been shoved into the spotlight the past five years thanks to bands like Blink-182, Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, there are very few spots left for up-and-comers hoping to bask in some of the MTV glory.

And while Verona Grove will surely infiltrate teenager's iPods and build a reputable fanbase by rocking small venues across the country, it seems hard to believe that this is the best they could do. Though nothing is wrong with the four songs of their EP, there is also not much to actually say about it. Vocals reminiscent of Kenny Vasoli of The Starting Line, lyrics that reek of youthful cliché ("I wish I may, I wish I might, be the one you take home at night" from "Everything You Dreamed") and an image as defining as Hot Topic's online catalogue, leave little in the way of originality.

This is, however, just a four song sample of what is to come from the band's upcoming full-length disc and for an EP, it sounds incredibly polished. And "Revolution" does offer some hope for the Grove, standing out as an above average, piano-guided call-out to the hopeless teenager in each of us. Now, do they have what it takes to make a good pop-punk record? Definitely. But the real question of whether or not they can build upon this EP to make something original and filled with replay value has yet to be answered. I guess we'll see on August 21st when their full-length record The Story Thought Over is due for release.

Curious now? Their EP is available for purchase online, or you could save your $5 and just visit their MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/veronagrove) where all the songs are available for listening. Good luck Verona Grove, may the fist-pumping, emo-force be with you.

-Josh Page


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