Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Let's get this out there right off the bat: Veda is a good band - possibly even a great one.
This relatively new Kansas City foursome sounds primed for rock's biggest stages - no small achievement considering the dozens of local bands who aspire to as much but fall dreadfully short.
They're fronted by a kick-ass vocalist, Kristen May, who can sing like a bat out of hell. The band's pro-caliber rhythm section is supplemented by some skilled lead-guitar riffage, backing seismic sing-alongs destined for Dashboard-like devotion. All things considered, "This Broken City" makes one wonder whether Vagrant Records didn't really drop the ball by not signing this band.
In all probability, Veda will probably get a lot further in the outside world than most Lawrence/Kansas City bands. They're unabashedly MTV-compatible; they're perfectly content to dwell in big 4/4 emo time with catharsis constantly afoot; and they straddle that nebulous line between respectable and marketable like Jenna Jameson straddles authorship.
The trade-off is that the things that make Veda so attractive from a marketing standpoint are also the things that make "This Broken City" sound a bit too calculated. The dynamics are predictable and the songs are hardly distinguishable from each other. Part of this can be attributed to the glossiness of the production, which rarely dares to introduce new instruments or textures into the mix.
Given the band's admitted devotion to bands like Foo Fighters and A Perfect Circle, there's no shame in hiring a producer like Ed Rose and trying to make a hit record. But given that the band also cites Bjork and Joy Division as primary influences, why not push the creativity on a few more cylinders? Without such experimentation, it's only a matter of time before the Evanescence comparisons start rolling in.
Though "This Broken City" doesn't seem like something that will endure repeated listening, it does show that Veda is capable of producing a disc that will. When they do, I sincerely hope it takes Evanescence's place on the dial.