Verona Grove The Story Thought Over

A decade ago, the Promise Ring positioned rural Wisconsin as a proper breeding ground for thoughtful emo rock. Life for dudes who dug wool sweaters was good. Today, like-minded bands come with arena-sized aspirations and relocate to L.A. to track their debut records (in this case with American Hi-Fi guitarist Jamie Arentzen) and the results, while still earnest and inoffensive, too often suffer from the unnecessary synthetics applied here. The up-tempo pop rockers ("Smalltown Celebrity,” "Goodbye Surrender”) pile alongside the bits of Something Corporate-style piano pop ("Chances”) and, of course, swollen arena emo pseudo-epics ("Nothing To Say?”). Fans of Sugarcult or the City Drive might find Verona Grove close kindred spirits to those acts. But while Verona Grove’s granola take on turn-of-the-millennium emo shows they can execute genre landmarks with ease, their over-reliance on imitation instead of invention dulls their attack beyond repair. ( (Pat's Record Company)