Chapter in Verse
Chapter in Verse – Wicked Smile
Though they have sold out nearly every venue in the region, local faves
Chapter In Verse have, until recently, failed to release an album.
Now they have one.
I would like to follow that statement with a phrase like “and what an
album!” but, especially considering the enormous hype this band often
finds itself involved with when performing live, it would be hard for any
recording to live up. Still, Wicked Smile is a solid chronicling of the
elements which allow CIV to pack ‘em in throughout New England.
Opening with the spirited strum of “Fly With Me,” CiV adds a slight touch
of techno to the lyrically congested “Beautiful Face” before easing into
the high-voiced folky title track, whose extended stumbling coda goes on
more than a bit too long. “Newspaper Song” picks up the pieces and the
pace, with a bright, tripling vocal layering riding over an open rhythm
set. “Leaving” tempts with rock crunch, but keeps the anticipation at
that, developing more into heavy C&W than straight R&R. “Sky,” on the
other hand, opens with a driving pulse whose breaks only make its return
all the more satisfying. “Prison” keeps the musical edge sharp with some
aggressive bass work, but also includes lyrics which are at times
confusing and dull (e.g., “Break the asylum of yesterday prayer”). “Don’t
Cry” takes it down a bit, returning to the easy drift of the title track
with a sensible and sensitive story which rolls along softly into the
percussive punch of the closing powerful ballad “Anything.”
Throughout the album, creative and at times perplexing changes and
story-driven lyrics make for an odd consistency. The vocal arrangements of
Brenda White and Rachel Clayton shine through as well. Unfortunately, it
is doubtful whether any album could fully demonstrate the intangible
elements which have rightfully deserved CiV’s “Best Live Act” accolades.
- Matthew S. Robinson
© 1999 M. S. Robinson, ARR