Band of the Day

2012.03.11

David Vertesi

A Vancouver, BC songwriter with poignant lyrics and a deep, stirring voice
When you're feeling safe is when you're getting lazy, and they'll tear you apart.
lyrics from Gentleman Say

David Vertesi is probably best known for his work with Vancouver based indie pop group, Hey Ocean! From collaborations with rap artists to garage-house groups, Vertesi shows his range and creativity as a musician. In 2011 he departed from the light-hearted Caribbean-pop sounds that he was known for, releasing his debut solo album, Cardiography. With Cardiography, the guitarist/bassist of the Canadian pop group shows that he is not limited to one instrument, or genre. His vocal talent is spotlighted in Cardiography, and has drawn comparisons to Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen. A shining example of Vertesi’s eagerness to push his musical boundaries and experiment is “Sing it Forward” (a cover of a Ben Folds song) where he is backed by a children’s choir.

Vancouver, Canada artist David Vertesi has a voice like a rock, or maybe one of British Columbia's great Douglas Fir trees, something solid and trusted you can hold onto as the storm rages all around. It's deep and assured, and sounds like Vertesi's planned each word carefully before it's formed. Vertesi is best known as the bassist for Canadian band Hey Ocean!, a sprightly up and coming group with an upbeat, even tropical flair, but his debut solo album Cardiography moves from melancholy to meditative to rocking, accomplishing all admirably. The collection plays like an argument for albums in this age of singles and EPs as Vertesi shifts tone and emotion throughout the record, helping to focus and amplify each one in turn. On “Gentlemen Say” Vertesi displays his talent for highly affecting lyrics, weaving a narrative and keen observations together over plodding acoustic guitar and a tick-tocking drum machine that helps the track sound like The Strokes on Quaaludes. Vertesi's calmly sung tale of the drunk girl he has to drive home comes to the perfectly despondent chorus of “when gentlemen say, treat her like a lady, they mean break her heart.” “Cardiography” is more traditional singer/songwriter fare that sees Vertesi using his deep pipes to full effect. The lively off-kilter beat, lush strings and sweeping croon recall much of what makes Andrew Bird so great. “Mountainside” shows off Vertesi's more rocking moments, but even here with the guitar and drums pounding against each other it's his deep, measured voice and rousing lyrics that cut to the front of the mix and steal the show. It's a good thing that Vertesi has decided to step beyond the bass, because his songwriting chops are startlingly well released on his debut. He's got the gift of matching lyrics to melodies to instrumentation in stirring harmony that shouldn't go unnoticed.