By chance, I heard about Vervex from several different people all on the same day. His new album, The Wave seemed to be getting a lot of hype—and rightfully so. Vervex is the solo project of Jake Barrow of Cassiopeia. But don’t be fooled by the word “solo.” The Wave is a polished album complete with drum, guitar, bass, other random instruments, whistling, and even some “whoa oh ohs.”
The Wave opens with acoustic guitar and a simple tapping of the foot on “Led by Ghosts.” Not far into the first track does one realize that Vervex is not just any acoustic guitar-y, foot tapping folk artist. As more percussion trickles in the song takes on a balanced, dynamic, and interesting groove.
Perhaps I am not qualified to critique anyone’s skill, but I know that it takes a good deal of talent for an artist to write music that takes a listener places. Listening to The Wave I am reminded of driving down S. State St. on a sunny day, dancing in someone’s tapestry-cloaked basement at a really fun house show, or “studying” in a favorite coffee shop. Barrow manages to take the essence of Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest and turn it into music—music that is both sing-able and memorable.
This album is something that doesn’t leave you bored for a minute but yet doesn’t get old after several listens in a row. Although there are only four songs on The Wave, they are four worthy songs. Vervex is some of Bellingham’s finest indie rock and I can only expect more great things to come.