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VersaEmerge - Fixed At Zero Album Cover

VersaEmerge - Fixed At Zero

Reviewed by
8.0
VersaEmergeFixed At Zero
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Record Label: Fueled By Ramen
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Inevitably every review you'll read for VersaEmerge’s impressive debut album, Fixed At Zero, will mention Hayley Williams and Paramore. Whether or not lead vocalist Sierra Kusterbeck sounds like her orange-headed counterpart is not important, as it’d be a disservice to VersaEmerge to waste space comparing them to Paramore (and yes I am a hypocrite for starting off my review with this).

VersaEmerge isn’t like most of their label mates. Fixed At Zero certainly has some pop to it, but it is so intricately woven with grandiose strings and experimental twists that it sets it apart. In a time where a lot of similar acts care more about style rather than substance, VersaEmerge is a breath of fresh air. “Figure It Out” begins with some playful “ah-ahh-ahh’s” from Kusterbeck, drawing you into the song’s deep spell, which is laced with brilliant electronica flourishes. The urgent “Mind Reader” follows and ,only two songs in, my ears are completely engulfed by Kusterbeck’s vocals. Her vocals are paced nicely by Blake Harnage’s guitar work. The title track continues the momentum with powerful strings and a soaring chorus.

After the first three tracks hit you over the head, VersaEmerge slow things down with the dramatic “You’ll Never Know.” The infectious “Stranger” features some nice programming from Harnage as well as a killer bridge. Fists will be pumped during the intro of “Fire (Aim Your Arrows High),” but ears will be surprised, as Harnage takes over lead vocal duties for a bit. The back and forth between him and Kusterbeck is delicious, sadly this is one of only two occurrences on Fixed At Zero. Songs like “Your Own LoV.E.” and “Mythology” display a nice give and take between pop and progression, with the latter flowing in the vein of The Hush Sound.

VersaEmerge certainly has a flair for the dramatics, raising their sound to epic proportions on the eerie “Up There” and stunning seven minute closer, “Lost Tree.” Beginning with lush acoustic strings, “Lost Tree” is an example of excellent vocal work. Kusterbeck’s voice is subdued for the first half, staying within the boundaries of the track. A nicely placed guitar riff and haunting strings amp up the mood a bit and then kaboom, Kusterbeck takes it to the next level with a yell that would blow the roofs off most arenas. The final minutes are incredibly spastic, as the previous tracks lyrics are recited, giving Fixed At Zero nice closure.

Fixed At Zero will catch the attention of those who prefer the musical styles of Eisley and The Hush Sound, but believe me when I tell you those two bands have never released something as good as this. Not only does Fixed At Zero feature pristine production (courtesy of Dave Bassett), it also has one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard in a while, female or otherwise. Sierra Kusterbeck’s range is fantastic, as she knows when to pull in the reins as well as knowing when to belt it out. Fixed At Zero has the charisma to draw in your attention and the substance to keep it as well. Looking for a new obsession? Say hello to 2010’s breakout band, VersaEmerge.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Figure It Out
2. Mind Reader
3. Fixed At Zero
4. You’ll Never Know
5. Stranger
6. Redesign Me
7. Fire (Aim Your Arrows High)
8. Up There
9. Your Own LoV.E.
10. Mythology
11. Lost Tree
Produced by: Dave Bassett

VersaEmerge is:
Sierra Kusterbeck – vocals
Blake Harnage – guitar/vocals/programming
Devin Ingelido – bass/vocals

Official Website; Official Myspace; Official AP.net Profile; Official Twitter Account

 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 158
09:37 AM on 06/17/10
#2
Shakriel
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Good review.
Will have to check this out.
09:37 AM on 06/17/10
#3
zachff
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Short review and to the point. Personally I'm not a big fan of female vocalists, but maybe I'll check this out.

Terrible, terrible album artwork though.
09:42 AM on 06/17/10
#4
karadoll
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This makes me so excited to check this out when it finally gets here.
09:45 AM on 06/17/10
#5
Ari Christos
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Florida represent

Edit: Do they not have a drummer?
09:47 AM on 06/17/10
#6
gr33ndayfr3ak
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I really dug this when I streamed this on myspace, so I think I agree with most of this. Well done to both the band and the reviewer
09:47 AM on 06/17/10
#7
Meeze
PunkOut.org
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ive been stoked for this release for so long now. from what i have heard so far, tis not going to disappoint!
09:48 AM on 06/17/10
#8
mymusicismylife
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I'll pass, few female vocalists do it for me.
09:53 AM on 06/17/10
#9
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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Florida represent

Edit: Do they not have a drummer?
they have a touring drummer, right now they are only an official three piece and I could not find who the studio drummer was.
09:54 AM on 06/17/10
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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"According to a couple of tweets, [17] [18], Chris Pollock, formerly of Maryland-based band Oh, the Story! is currently filling in as the drummer for the band. It has not been announced whether this is permanent or temporary."

from Wiki, but I do not know if he recorded the drums on this album.
09:54 AM on 06/17/10
stereokiller
Nintendo FC: 0962 9717 4432
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Quote:
Fixed At Zero will catch the attention of those who prefer the musical styles of Eisley and The Hush Sound, but believe me when I tell you those two bands have never released something as good as this.

I friggin' love TSH.

That statement got me really curious.
09:57 AM on 06/17/10
lucygray
often imitated, never duplicated
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I liked Figure It Out but I ended up not enjoying the album.
09:58 AM on 06/17/10
eriatarka24
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they have a touring drummer, right now they are only an official three piece and I could not find who the studio drummer was.
I heard they officially revealed their new drummer, whose name is Chris Pollock.

http://www.alterthepress.com/2010/04...w-drummer.html

Oh yes, you did mention the reference in Wikipedia. I think he's permanent.

Also I personally think this album is very weak and no where near as good as you make it out to be, but okay.

I only really like, maybe 3 songs, one of them being 'Redesign Me', which I think is the best on there, and it didn't get a mention.
09:59 AM on 06/17/10
Ari Christos
blowin on that endo
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they have a touring drummer, right now they are only an official three piece and I could not find who the studio drummer was.

"According to a couple of tweets, [17] [18], Chris Pollock, formerly of Maryland-based band Oh, the Story! is currently filling in as the drummer for the band. It has not been announced whether this is permanent or temporary."

from Wiki, but I do not know if he recorded the drums on this album.

Oh okay. I noticed you didn't bring anything up in the review either so I was just curious. I'll probably give this a listen, Sierra is a monster of a vocalist. I remember really liking the s/t EP before this and their cover of American Boy.
10:05 AM on 06/17/10
SomedayTheFire
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Really do not like this album.

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