Verve Pipe - The Verve Pipe
Verve Pipe: This is Your Life!
Verve Pipe. If all that comes to mind is a vague remembrance
of their smash hit "The Freshmen" you are missing out. Back
in 1996, with their major label debut Villains, this
Portage, Michigan quintet proved their worth in the music
scene. Villains was an excellent pop/rock album, an
album which went platinum. In fact, "The Freshmen" was such
a popular track that the band had to release two versions
of the album, the second featuring the radio version of the
aforementioned song. Now, in 1999, Brian Vander Ark (lead
vocals) and company are back to prove that Villains
was no fluke.
album, The Verve Pipe, marks the band's second major
label release, but their fourth release overall. Before Villains
the band had two independent releases: I've Suffered a
Head Injury (1992) and Pop Smear (1993).
the best analogy for this album lies in the liner notes. Not
in what they say, but how they are arranged. The cover of
the album is a cross cut diagram of a frog that could have
been lifted straight out of an anatomy textbook. Inside the
notes we have more pictures of the frog, along with transparent
overlays labeling the frog's various organs. The interesting
part is that the organ labels are song titles , lyrics, and
band members. This album is an anatomy of a band, and each
song and member has a specific function in the band's life
and inner workings.
our tour of the band's internal organs, we get a feel of what
they have experienced in their lives. Unlike many bands, The
Verve Pipe do not give us a list of complaints about how hard
it is to be a rock star. Instead, they give us a commentary
on what has happened along with a feel for how the events
have affected them. They place blame on no one but themselves
for the problems they experience. This is made clear on the
album's opener, "Supergig." ("We used to care, we don't care
anymore") Referring to himself as a "Creep from the cradle
and a hero driven wannabe," Vander Ark humbles himself and
comes to terms with low self esteem on the album's first single
many bands in the pop/rock genre, The Verve Pipe have released
a work that deserves the title of an album. This is not merely
a collection of pop songs, but it is instead a journey through
the inner workings of five men over eight years. The musicianship
has undergone noticeable improvement since the last album,
as has Vander Ark's vocal style. The band truly comes together
on this album, displaying modest emotions in tracks such as
"In Between" which works as a turning point from the upbeat
pop the album starts with to melancholic soul searching.
Verve Pipe is an excellent title for this album, as that
is exactly what the album is - an album about The Verve Pipe.
By far one of the most intimate pop albums released (intimacy
alone being a rarity in pop), the band takes us to its heart
and lets us in. By listening to the album, the listener can
experience everything the band has experienced. The powerful
feeling of being loved by everyone, the fear of having no
one at all, and the defeating realization that it is our own
choices that make us who we are... creep or hero wannabe.