Review: Spartak - Verona

Recorded in just two days, Verona is the music of impulse – of sporadic ideas without the relentless tweaking and perfecting of retrospect, unleashed and recorded and left relatively untouched. That considered it’s surprising how cohesive and well structured this album is, clearly existing as a celebration of putting faith in what feels right rather than painstaking hours spent trying to achieve glossy sonic symmetry.

After the shimmering guitar chimes of “Morning Prayer”, Verona slips into the 9 minutes of “The Waves To The Rails”. The clatter and roll of drums stutter behind guitar that loops itself into vast blanket, interjected with jarring electronics and spoken word passages. “Tweezer” follows the same theme, retaining the reverse delay and frantic drum improvisation, with the guitars cutting back into intermittent surges.

It’s a strong start, but Verona gets even stronger with “Sleepstalker” and “Second-Half Cloud”, with the former spilling forth with dreadfully haunting drawn-out chords and the latter utilising a ghostly female vocal wrapped around the throb of organ drone. A series of well-placed interludes break up the atmosphere, acting more as palette-cleansers rather than being too merit-worthy in themselves.

But as the crackling chord of “Tape Machine Dream” fades into nothing, Verona feels like it’s all over too soon. The album establishes a fair amount of ground over its 42 minutes without fully exploring it, teasing with its potential and then cruelly swiping it away again. Nevertheless it’s fantastic throughout its duration, with the sound of the final product and the speed in which it came together acting as a real testament to the talent and artistic connection between the members of Spartak.