Hurrah is Versus’ first full-length on their new label, Merge Records. These darlings of the New York scene offer up a host of solid tunes in the classic indie rock tradition they’ve been working from since their first single in 1992. It’s strange to think of the maturing of a genre as discordant as indie rock was. The Dam Builders, Pavement, Superchunk, and the Flaming Lips are all over ten years old now and have registered, gracefully for the most part, the changes in the music scape. Versus story is not unlike theirs. But Versus’ tunes sound one part old school indie — in a tried and true mode which evokes the golden years of Chapel Hill — and one part new school. In particular on Hurrah, songs such as “Said Too Much,” “Frederick’s Of Hollywood,” and “I Love the WB” are true to the atonal form carried to heights by Sonic Youth, Seam, and Polvo. On the other hand, the piano based “Walkabout,” “Play Dead,” and “The Spell You’re Under” all seem to break out of the older modes. These songs are truly innovative, and it would be nice to see more like them on Hurrah. Regardless, this CD makes for a captivating listen.
Merge Records, Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; http://www.mrg2000.com