Rey Pila's 'Velox Veritas' Has the Awkward Rigidity of Top 40 Alt-Rock

Rey Pila's 'Velox Veritas' Has the Awkward Rigidity of Top 40 Alt-Rock
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Moderately catchy yet extremely busy, ​Velox Veritas sounds like Imagine Dragons and Muse formed a less obnoxious supergroup. It seems like Rey Pila have more in common with the latter, whom they opened for in 2010. Vaguely anarchist and pyromanic lyrics are paired with quirky arena rock vocals on album starters "Let It Burn" and "Dark Paradise," though it's never really made clear what's prompting this unrest.

The production is oversaturated, and dry vocals and guitar tones sit on top of extremely wet synths. These elements are mixed with little regard for each other, making it feel like two separate parts happening at the same time for most of the album. This is also exacerbated by the stylistic differences of the effects. It's as if the arrangement of these was secondary to everything else.

Despite this, there are many moments where each element shines on its own. The synths often sound very grandiose, and they're part of what makes ​Velox Veritas​ so catchy. The Strokes-y muted guitars at the beginning of "Josephine" remind you why Julian Casablancas originally picked them up in the first place. If it wasn't all wrapped in a heavy-handed bow, it would be an endearing homage to the post-punk revival.

The indisputable peak of ​Velox Veritas ​is its instrumentally pretty and surprisingly ambient closer "Steps (Pt. 1)". Though the same repetitive instrumental track is present earlier on the album on "Steps (Pt. 2)", moving the lick from the chorus to the verse makes it easier to appreciate its delicacy. It's surprising that an album with the same stiffness of much Top 40 alternative shines when it deviates from the formula that acts as its skeleton. Rey Pila has a lot of promise, they just need to narrow down exactly what they're best at first. (Arts & Crafts)