Secondhand Serenade - A Twist in My Story
Record Label: Glassnote Records
Release Date: February 19, 2008
Men that wear their hearts on their sleeves have not died out with Ashley Parker Angel but are represented in the melodic rock riffage of singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Vesely who records his original compositions under the moniker Secondhand Serenade. His latest record A Twist in My Story is the follow up to his 2007 debut album Awake. Produced by Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails, Angles and Airwaves) and Butch Walker (Avril Lavigne, All American Rejects), A Twist in My Story is in league with Vesely’s predecessors Angels and Airwaves and Say Anything. The melodic rock scores of “Like a Knife,” “Stay Close, Don’t Go,” and “Maybe” are scripted with juicy guitar riffs and soaring vocals that saturate every inch of the drum fills. The acoustic guitar melodies of “Pretend” and “Goodbye” project a sunken mood with vocals that reach out into the depths of the darkness.
The piano ballads “Fall for You” and “Stranger” blow up into full rock orchestras accompanied by by lacy violins and guitars that ascend and peak before withdrawing and repeating the cycle. The buildups and breaks in the arrangements are shaped by the vocal melodies which are resilient, showing an ability to stand on top of the mountains of layered instrument parts or resound through the hollowed out portions in the scores. Tracks like “Your Call” and “Suppose” form massive rock orchestras along the transitional phrases that connect the verses. Vesely’s vocal rises on the title track penetrate every pore of the acoustic guitar base as a floral of violins swirl around in graceful sweeps and a bass drum vibrates between the intervals. The music keeps to a melodic rock schematic harboring soothing aesthetics and vocals that reach out when nothing is holding them up.
The lyrics are about the sorrows and joys that come with being in a relationship. Vesely’s vocals show the desperation that one feels when a relationship is crumbling down to the ground when with all of your might you try to hold it up as if your very breathe is dependent on this relationship surviving. The emo temperature of the vocal arcs are comparable to Dashboard Confessional as the lyrics portray a heart that is being torn asunder in “Like a Knife” with words that implore, “These streets are filled with memories / Both perfect and in pain / And all I want to do is love you.” There is a recurring theme in Vesely’s lyrics that puts the blame on himself for the cracks in the relationship like in “Maybe” when he professes, “I was crying alone tonight / And I was wasting all of my life thinking of you / So just come back, we’ll make it better / So just come back, I’ll make it better than it ever was.” Vesely makes the desperation palpable in the lyrics when he sings them like he does.
Vesely does a fine job sliding his vocals up and down the diatonic scale (ie: do, re, mi, fa, etc.) and stretching out the resonance in his notes to extraordinary breadths, but this is an album that you need to be in the mood to listen to. You need to be in the same place as Vesely is to enjoy this record, otherwise the songs feel very whiny and repetitive. A Twist in My Story was made in an emotional place, and unless you can relate to wearing your heart on your sleeve, it becomes hard to digest. It’s an album for anyone who has felt the way that Vesely did when he wrote these songs. It’ll get you through those rough times in a relationship and give you someone who can speak to your feelings. But if that’s not something you need, then this is a place you may not have an interest in visiting.
i love all his albums and i can relate to what hes goin through.. even though i never went through it myself.. my parents got a divorce and i was always in the middle of it so i know probably how he feels and his albums are the best..