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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


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