Wherever you look, music is going in all directions at the moment, and no genre seems to disparate to meld with another. While their particular combination of metal and post-hardcore mixed with pop and R&B has mostly been done before, genre-hoppers VRSTY are continuing to show moments of impressive fluidity, none more so than on their ‘Cloud City’ EP.
We begin with ‘Massive’, which definitely has a hulky groove about it and a solid chorus. ‘Dig’ is generally a decent song, but admittedly is let down slightly by its sub-par lyrics, featuring clichéd whining about relationship problems that doesn’t make you feel any sorrier for our protagonist, and this couplet commits the sin of name-checking a social media outlet, consigning it to sounding horrendously dated in a few years, “I know she’s lurking through my Instagram / I watch her stories and I start to laugh”.
‘Shameless’ is probably the best song on here, showcasing everything that they can do in one sitting. The verses sound like something that The Weeknd could’ve conjured up, and while the transformation into metalcore section may be a little hackneyed, it definitely feels fluid rather than jarring and lifts the song significantly, bringing it into another memorable chorus.
The EP’s title-track is another melting pot of a song, with an enticing synth pattern sitting over a chunky riff in the chorus. In spite of some further lyrical clangers, Joey Varela is clearly a very talented vocalist who can carry a melody very well, and can tastefully apply the R&B vocal trills without overdoing it.
‘Wilt’ is a solid demonstration of their sound overall, even if it falls into some very familiar trappings. But it’s about to get a makeover that transforms it significantly.
The re-working of ‘Wilt’ into the ‘Cloud City Edition’ is a clear highlight, going fully into immersive trap-inspired R&B, and the guest appearance of Gina Fritz to give another side to the story of the song is certainly welcome. It’s testament that a release like this can wear its tropes on its sleeve at times, but still spring a surprise.
While some have followed the cross-genre zeitgeist and fallen over themselves, this EP clearly demonstrates why VRSTY are one of the best bands currently doing this sound, with their musical canvas alone elevating it beyond many of their peers.