Klef Notes

Music Reviews

Verity White - Breaking Out

When I say Rock Music, or Rock Band, or Rock Star, what image(s) immediately comes to mind?  Kravitz, Guns N Roses, Kiss, The Cure, Hendricks, Van Halen, Zeppelin, Bowie? (to name a few)?  

Well, I pretty much figured these would be some of the answers simply because looking back on music there were not many females in Rock even though women came onto the scene of Rock music back in the 1930s.  But clearly they were not on the main stage or making it to the airwaves until the 1960s.  So of course most fans of Rock music instantly think of the male form when they are asked this question and they are not wrong.                                     

But when music videos became a cult favorite in the 80’s, females in Rock began to create more waves.  They were displaying their nine inch nails, their diamond studded stilettos, and their leather.  They were rebellious and they were raw. So now we have Chrissie Hynde, Tracy Chapman, Joan Jett, Bonnie Raitt, Courtney Love, Brittany Howard, The Go-Gos, Grace Slick, Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, Grace Jones, Annie Lenox as well as others who have laid tracks and are making and leaving their mark. 

Well, I have run across many female “Rockers” today, but one that stands out in the crowd as a legend in the making is Verity White.  If you do not know her, shame on you, but there’s hope.  Read on, and I bet once you get finished reading, you will be a fan of this diamond. 

Hailing from the UK, Verity White has the same work ethic, dangerous panache, and lyrical flavor and stamina as those females listed above.  

Formally an active member in function bands and theatrical productions, it wasn’t until 2016 that Verity began digging her nails in Rock music as a solo artist.  She went on tour with Pendragon as a backing vocalist and followers began to become curious as to how her own voice sound.  Working along with her husband Alex, Verity found her sound and her style and introduced it to the globe professionally in autumn 2016 with her first release. 

Since 2016, Verity has garnered accolades for her originality and sound receiving the honor of “The Best Female Indie Artist” (Spiderweb Radio) and “Best Alternative Rock Song” (Akademia Awards Jul 2017).  Indie radio stations have established her as a regular on their playlists across the world while she racks up promotional scores from active social media platforms and channels. 

Preceding her most recent work in music are two EPs “Parentheses” and “Stripped Bare.” 

Her latest release “Breaking Out” is a collection of Rock songs kissed by Soul, Punk, Progressive, Folk, and EDM which just puts her above her Rock female competitors today on mainstream radio. 

Verity’s personality is like a diamond which just gets brighter and of more value under pressure and she has conveyed this distinctiveness into “Breaking Out” which exhibits how females, like diamonds, just get better and better and they win!  

This is a review of “Breaking Out” which houses ten spine riveting tracks: 

1. Breaking Out

2. Zeroes and Ones

3. Demons in Your Head

4. I Don’t Care

5. See Through

6. Face It

7. Exhale

8. Your Darkest Secret

9. Slow Fall

10. Overcome 

While all 10 tracks stay true to the Rock genre, I chose to highlight the seven that I feel really showcase Verity’s versatility in music as well as her overall theme of female empowerment. 

The title track, “Breaking Out” is the perfect calling card for Verity’s threading musical theme of female empowerment as its lyrics are liberating.   Lyrically, Verity is touching on the topic of moving on after a relationship just is not what it seems –especially when the antagonizing partner underestimates your power, strength, or ability – she sings “Don't define me / I know I'm better by myself / cause you tire me, and it's getting bad for my health / cause I'm worth it, yeah so watch me go.”   Accompanying this power-driven track is electrifying guitars, pulse throbbing beats, lyrical attitude, jaw dropping vocals, and venomous melodies.  This Progressive Rock track comes out swinging.  Stick your finger in a socket and the buzz you get is this song (disclaimer:  do not try this, just listen to this song). 

“Zeroes and Ones” is the second track and this easily became my song crush.  The way this song starts with a low synth chord and then progresses into a sonorous Rock Fusion cut just automatically delves into your soul and take up all of the space.  A calculating track about a relationship ending, Verity sings so raw and fluently “The pain is real / cause I can't change you, and so what's done is done / Take your place in history - there's no future you and me.”  I mean, what’s left when there is no more “us” in a relationship? Nothing – ZERO.  This brings me to a hidden gem about this song, its title “Zeroes and Ones.”  Mirroring the algebraic “Zero Power Rule” where any number to the “zero” power always equals “1,” this title befits the theme of this song perfectly.  So when this algebraic formula is applied to a relationship, how can ZERO equal ONE?  Well, when there is ZERO emotion, ZERO compatibility, ZERO love, the two will ultimately split to where there is only ONE individual left.  I know this is Algebra, and this is music, but isn’t this the basic formula of a love gone badly?  Verity sings “There’s no logic in our love/it’s clear that we both had enough / set me free Zero-oh-oh / you look good without me.”   With elements of Soul and Folk, Verity has such soulful roots – almost Teena Marie-like in her vocal execution with attitude and on-point pitch.  The classic harmony and unison notes near the outro of the cut give it just a touch of Folk.  I love the trill on her voice when she sings “the pain is real.”  You truly can hear the depth of her talent.  This Fusion Rock track is nothing short of ah-some.  Lyrically illustrating that when it is over, it is over – there is no need to recalculate, you do the math.  

This brings us to the Punk-laden new wave “Demons in Your Head.”  The third track in the collection is a party of synth combined with crystal hi-hats, exhilarating guitars, and flooring percussions.  A key piece of synth on this track that lends itself as the music foundation sounds very much like a Roland Jupiter 8 synthesizer – this model of synth dates back to the 1980s and is still widely used in current music production.  This classic synthesizer places this track right in synch with current mainstream New Wave Punk Rock hits.  The song itself is written about how the struggle is real when you love someone who is constantly inside of their own head – worse yet, if the feelings inside of their head are filled with self-deprecating thoughts and/or pain.  The cure is what’s outside of the head, as Verity sings “Looking out through empty eyes / This mask is here as your disguise / Every day a constant struggle with the demons in your head / They're fighting to control you, so you just go back to bed instead / They may win the battle, but they'll never win the war.”  This heavily energetic track touts a great synth base and is a commercially-ready piece of music. 

“I Don’t Care” was the first single released off of “Breaking Out” and it did very well.  Opening the track is a killer bass drum setting up the aggressive instruments that lay the foundation of this classic Rock track.  You know the feeling – it’s just one of those days where you wake up and all you want to do is put life on pause and have a good time expressing yourself at any means necessary?  Just let loose?  Well, this track can be your anthem.  Verity stimulatingly sings “there’s a party on the street I’m going out tonight / don’t care what you say, you can put up a fight / pour me a drink, make it Snake Bite and Black / gonna drink till I can’t be the one to blame / I don’t care.”  There are so many layers in this song that just gives you that euphoric vibe with the blazing guitars, quick lyrics, bottom beating drums, and lightning hi-hats.  A world wind of music!  Alex really knows his craft.  The entire song you are mentally racing to get to the hot spot and then you are punctually introduced to a mellow seductive lyrical pleasure pit where Verity swoons “Lay me on a bed of roses while I make you mine/yeah, I swear I’m going to do it this time/can’t go back where I came from/this feeling helps me to survive.” What a nice effect – pulling back the music at point 1:54.  This cut is so “Alice in Wonderland” set to Rock as it softly dominates with lyrical imagery – it almost has a spiraling down the rabbit hole effect.  This track shows that self-expression is often the sexiest accessory a woman can wear! 

And if you love EDM, then you will love the fifth song entitled “See Through.”  A great fusion of downtempo EDM and Rock, this cut steadily gets you going.  It features multi-layered sound effects embracing a delicate acoustic guitar, tambourines, synths, and a mix of modern instrumentation.  The music is so thought provoking alone but the VOICE on this cut just takes it over the top.  The vocal layers that Verity places in this song show her spontaneity and vocal skill, and choosing to lower her register just adds to the mystery and personality of this reflective piece.  One of the more slower tempo tracks, the lyrical composition features a story of healing old wounds that cut deep, Verity sings “I need an answer to the emptiness in me/though it pushes and drives me so hard/Can you see through these scars.”  In addition, a great mix was done to the production of “See Through” as each and every vocal, adlib, instrument, and effect is balanced to the nines.  The muffled effect on the outro gives a “hazy” impression which is a great antonym for seeing clearly! 

The quasi-somber ballad of the collection is entitled “Exhale” a well written song about finding your self-confidence.   The seventh track features a Hip Hop bottom, lush guitars, and aggressive vocals.  I enjoyed the “S” vocal alliteration on the word “exhale” as this gave the inclination of a conscience driving one to be better, be stronger, and be capable to fly “past the boundaries you built” as Verity so aptly sings.  Then at the 2:00 minute mark, instrumentation is scaled back and the listener is just left with two-way vocalizations that soften the punch, and then you are whisked back into the adrenaline.  Then at the 3:00 minute mark, you are dropped again delicately and slow just to be jolted back into that pure Rock adrenaline.  Fans of Hip Hop, Grunge, and Rock will love this track.What an emotional roller-coaster!  Go ahead, exhale. 

“Slow Fall” is a relatable, honest, song that tracks the stages of a beginning romance.  You hear of some females falling “hard” in love – doing anything and everything to say “I have found the One” as they rush to a union that is followed by a horrible letdown unfortunately.  Well, to fall “slow” in love is often the better way to proceed in a relationship as you are more aware of the entire situation and not just the infatuation.  Verity so interestedly puts it this way “For so long I searched for your face / now I know you and I’m gonna / slow fall into your eyes / slow fall into your heart / you may be the answer that I was looking for.”  This practical track is laced with a crisp piano chord that strongly pursues the entire lead.  Nothing is left to chance with this song.  A definite must listen! 

As the songwriter, vocalist, and background vocalist to her music, Verity is no run of the mill female Rocker, no she can rock out just has hard and work just as hard and fantastic as the men – she’s just prettier and sexier.  

I call her “The Mistress of Rock.”  I know the term “mistress” today has a sexual and/or negative connotation tagged to it, but I am not referring to this modern definition of “mistress.”  I am talking about “mistress” as defined decades ago – when “Mistress” meant a woman of high standards or “Mrs” as in married to something.  According to Cambridge University historian Dr. Amy Erickson’s published article in the autumn issue of History Workshop Journal, “Mrs, pronounced ‘mistress,’ was for centuries applied to all adult women of higher social status.”* So you see, “mistress” in its original form was a woman who did things in taste and respected whatever she represented.  In that case, my titling Verity White as “The Mistress of Rock” sits well because when you listen to her compositions, it is as if she is “married” to the music and the message of Rock – Verity stands by the definitive form of Rock music being in charge and in control as she represents it wholeheartedly while being committed to the music.     

Her soprano/alto vocal range allows Verity to be gruff, soft, powerful, and in control.  She sets the stage to throw down vocally and lyrically with songs that focus on reality and honest experiences.  With Verity’s poetic lyricism, she manages to describe life and its intricacies in an illustrative and psychological way.  

An extended nod goes to producer and instrumentalist Alex White husband of Verity.  

Alex is a multi-instrumentalist and producer and he is the creative force behind Verity’s musical productions adding such surgical precision to the album’s instrumentation as well as the final music arrangements, mixes, and mastering.  Owner and operator of Arpeggio Creative, I will like to see what he does next. 

The female strength in “Breaking Out” is a musical force to be reckoned with – it has the muscle, the mystery, and the message of Rock all in the music.  No longer a diamond in the rough, Verity is not just a female Rocker, she is a Rock ARTIST leaving a legacy.  I bet you are a fan now!  

So Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to “The Mistress of Rock” – Verity White. 

To purchase “Breaking Out” go to https://veritywhite.bandcamp.com/album/breaking-out.  Follow her on Twitter @VeeBear.  You may also get a chance to see “The Mistress of Rock” live in concert starting January 2018 – for tour dates and/or tickets go to www.veritywhite.com/dates .  In addition, let me know what your favorite track is on this album by leaving a comment below. 

* https://newrepublic.com/article/119432/history-female-titles-mistress-miss-mrs-or-ms

 

Comments

Thanx for stopping by Remo. I too adore Verity. Her friendship is GOLD. This album right here is going places. So glad I was along for the ride.
Wow love this review, excellently written and a pleasure to read. i know Verity personally and did a short review in her in my article for Soapboa. Love her to bits, a great bubbly personality, wonderful artist and a joy of a person to know.

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