Poking around online while in the process of getting started here, I wanted to see what some other people were saying and if it matched how I feel. While the results were a bit sparse, the briefest review I found was also the most helpful; five short words, encapsulating not only the buzz surrounding Vérité but also a perfect summary of what Somewhere in Between offers.
“I can die happy now.”
With the exception of blockbuster movies and the Stanley Cup Finals, summer is the worst of the four seasons – it’s a thousand degrees, football is still months away, there are bugs everywhere – it’s awful. But, along with the exceptions above, there is one more key redeeming factor that comes to mind – pop music always hits a peak midyear.
Now with a trio of EPs on her resumé and a successful cover going viral, Vérité (born Kelsey Byrne) is here to not only show what she has to offer with her debut full-length, but prove that she can keep pace with the summer’s brightest starlets.
Coming quickly out of the gate, opener “When You’re Gone” creeps its way in, softly serenading “I don’t mind you leaving when the damage is done / And I don’t mind, I feel the same when you’re gone.” As this winds down, it leads into the album’s first single, “Phase Me Out,” a track with deep grooves and high summits; a perfect choice for a first-impression-maker, showing off Byrne’s strong vocal range and instrumental ability.
Where Somewhere In Between finds a lot of its success is in how well it delivers to-the-point pop. That’s not to say that the album doesn’t take chances (more on this later), but where artists may try adding extra bells and whistles (sometimes literally) to give a track that little bit extra, there’s stretches of compositional purity thanks to Byrne’s musical IQ.
On “Better,” Byrne lets her light vocals do the heavy lifting, joined by limited use of instruments and effects. Not only a highlight of her vocal ability, it showcases one of the simpler, more relatable set of lyrics on the album: “Maybe I fucked it up / maybe I let you down / Maybe I’m too far gone / maybe it’s simple that it’s over now / Maybe we’re just better off.”
Where there are great things to be said about simplicity, the same can be said about the moments where the album reaches for something more, mixing in something unexpected and creating something bigger. “Death of Me” flutters in soft and low, with Byrne singing of dreams and ghosts, and the tone placing us in the ether. Suddenly, as the chorus hits, the track is dipped beneath an electric filter, with a horn section blasting into the frame. It’s abrupt and borderline-intrusive, but even better, it works. Much like its predecessor, “Bout You” is also a bit different – darker, drearier than most of the rest of the record.
Following a pair of relatively straightforward opening tracks, the combination of “Death of Me” and “Bout You” in the 3-4 spots works wonders for Somewhere in Between, shaking up the pacing before it there’s ever a risk at growing stale or stagnant.
Though I just sent a decent bit of page pointing out the successes gained from sticking to script and alternately from taking chances, Somewhere In Between finds its best moments coming from a combination of the two. “Nothing” starts off feeling like a late-90’s/early-2000’s R&B/pop song, before abruptly dropping into a chorus that is dancehall perfection.
Following “Better,” “Need Nothing” combines soft vocals with heavy, mechanical styling to create a blend of diamonds and dirt. Lastly, the ethereal, ambient “Floor” is a standout – a beautiful goodbye track that lands in the middle ground of a breakup ballad and ‘80s gloom-pop. To be completely honest, it doesn’t matter how any of these tracks are performed, because the voice behind them delivers each and every one with the virtuosity and poise of a seasoned veteran.
This year has already seen some of the biggest names around release their latest albums, but with Somewhere in Between, we’re treated to the first from one of the freshest talents out there, and it may leave a few looking over their shoulders; Vérité is coming for the throne.
Release Date: June 23, 2017
Check Out: “Nothing,” “Floor,” “Solutions”
For Fans Of: Chaos Chaos, Lorde, Marina & the Diamonds
1. When You’re Gone
2. Phase Me Out
3. Death of Me
4. Bout You
6. Need Nothing
10. Somewhere In Between
13. Freedom of Falling