CD Review – Vernon Wayne – Jazzes


Review By Nigel Carleton

There’s something about Vernon Wayne’s short new EP, Jazzes that feels fresher than a majority of other math-rock acts that live in the Twin Cities as of late. Across the five tracks here, Vernon Wayne pushes listeners through a colorful obstacle course of complicated time-signatures and mood changes. They craft their sound with a mechanical prowess, but the emotions that they are conveying stay in tact.

Through partnership with Adam Tucker of Minneapolis based recording studio, SignatureTone Recording, Jazzes finds a tight sound that surprised me from the moment the stick hit the snare on “Ghost Arms and Phantom Lips”. Everything is mixed perfectly, and the record sounds absolutely massive at moments. Stylistically, comparisons to newer metal acts like Mastodon and Baroness will be inevitable, and rightly so: the very melodic vocals and distorted, memorable guitar riffs sound foreign in a scene so often riddled with wretched screams and lazy songwriting.

The ground Vernon Wayne covers in this short fifteen-minute recording is an impressive feat. “Ursa Minor” is a down-trodden, heavy jam with killer drumming and some nice pitch-shifted guitar leads near the tail-end of the track. The shinier, “Get your Torche” (possibly a reference to fellow metal act, Torche?) features a more distinct chorus, and the arpeggiated guitar riffs give the track a very jagged, angular feel.

Jazzes is the type of EP a band wants to make right away. The message is clear, the production is top-notch, the performances are polished, and the songs are written carefully and with experience. Vernon Wayne has shown that they are more than a positive addition to the slowly-building Twin Cities scene.

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