After a five year studio album hiatus, Luxembourg’s Versus You has returned with their fourth studio album, Moving On. While the album was originally released in February 2014, it is going to be re-released July 21 through the band’s new label, Bomber Music, and not a moment too late because this is a great summer album.
Musically, Versus You plays it safe throughout Moving On. This is some pretty bouncy pop punk, like, huge hooks and easy-to-sing-along choruses, complemented with rough, scratchy vocals. Imagine if Crimpshine-era Jeff Ott fronted Sugarcult circa 2001 and you’ve got a decent idea of what Versus You is all about on this album. It’s very by-the-numbers, but it’s also incredibly infectious and hard to resist singing along even if it’s just in your head.
While Moving On does little to push the boundaries of combining pop hooks with a punk bite, the album really shines lyrically, particularly on “30 Pills”. A haunting tale of the very real reality of HIV and the social effects of testing positive isn’t something that’s often done by pop punk bands (although not completely unheard of), but Versus You charges head-on. Much like Screeching Weasel in their prime, “30 Pills” is a huge downer but a very catchy downer.
Nothing else on the album ever gets quite as bleak, although Versus You does cover a lot of ground, namely frustration (“If the Camels Die, We Die”), growing up (“One That Can See”), loss (“Be Better Than Me”), and of course, a ballad dedicated to friendship (“You Are My Friend”). Fittingly enough, nearly each track also plays with the idea of acceptance of each of the aforementioned subjects, giving the entire album a theme of ‘moving on’ (hence the album title).
Given the long break in recording, it’d be easy to expect the band to deliver a big and explosive return. Moving On doesn’t make any grandiose statements, but it does provide catchy choruses that will bring you back to the Warped summers of yester-year. Consider pop punk successfully saved.
4 / 5 – Stream it below!