Southern California’s Versus The World is what many night call a pop-punk /alt-rock supergroup. Made up with a former bassist for The Ataris, Mike Davenport, current Lagwagon guitarist Chris Flippin, vocalist Donald Spence and Crooks and Liars drummer Bryan Charleson, the band easily has years of experience rocking out and their recent release, Drink. Sing. Live. Love., certainly proves that.
Dropped though Viking Funeral Records (Fletcher from Pennywise’s part-owned label), Drink. Sing. Live. Love. was an impressive pop-punk/post-hardcore listen from the start. I really did not know what to expect prior to checking out this release, all I knew was that the band consisted of some standout musicians from bands I have been a solid fan of for years.
Starting off the album was “She Sang The Blues”. a moderately heavy track with a good post-hardcore feel. Spence and Flippin share vocal duties throughout over distorted guitar playing as well as some fun solos. I am not going to lie, I was heavily impressed with what I heard, and I was only one song in.
There were plenty on singable opportunities on “A Fond Farewell”, a track that just screamed to be played on mainstream radio. Yeah, it sounded like a Fall Out Boy song at times (mostly from the singing solo), but who the hell cares?
“The Kids Are Fucked” easily was one of my favorite cuts off the album. Perhaps it was the Freaks and Geeks sample of Daniel yelling at Nick, “rock ‘n roll don’t come from your brain. It comes from your crotch” that got me going. Besides that, the track had all the qualities of a good listen: catchy hooks, lyrics I cold relate to at my tender age, and good ol’ fashioned guitar playing. If there is one song you need to check out on this album, this is it.
“A Love Song For Amsterdam” easily could have been a b-side to an Atari’s album. Then there was “Crooks And Lairs”, a likable typical moving-on-with-life-after-a-failed-relationship track that can make anyone who ever was in a rocky relationship can relate to. “Donner Pass” was the shortest, fastest, and heaviest track on the album. No offense, but I almost wish more songs on the album matched the tempo that this track kept. I have the feeling that Flippin had something to do with this track. Wrapping things up was “We Were Alive”, a track that was just not doing it for me. With how the alumb started, I really was hoping for a nice finale. To each their own of course.
Turns out, Versus The World dropped their debut release back in 2005 under Kung Fu Records. I think that was the year I moved to Egypt or fell off a cliff… Seriously, I am scratching my head on how I have never heard of this supergroup until today. Regardless, I now know what I was missing out on and liked a few tracks off this release. Pop-punk fans, you need to hear these guys. They certainly fit the bill.
What i like the most about this band is that it is full of musicians who have taken their lives and dedicated them to music. 10 years ago things may have been different in their lives, but they have all moved on and matured into what they are today. I respect that. Rather than recall their past, they have moved on and formed something new to impress the world with.
Drink. Sing. Live. Love. recalled the pop-punk sounds of the early 2000s with close similarities to, you guessed it, The Ataris and also Fall Out Boy and even a young Taking Back Sunday. Hell, I can even hear some old Alkaline Trio in there. Leaning more towards a rock sound at times, the album overall was a good listen. I have a slight feeling that this band might sound even better live. Here’s hoping I can experience that.