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  To Jupiter and Back
Artist: Verona
Label: Baby Angel Records
Length: 6 tracks

Verona, a California-based band consisting of Lisa Wahrmund on vocals, husband John Wahrmund on guitar and backing vocals, Josh Walker on bass and backing vocals, and Danny Walls on drums, shows it can blend intelligent lyrics about faith with a steady rock back-beat that help it stand out on this impressive debut CD.

This six-song project is brimming with tunes proclaiming faith, with Lisa Wahrmund's upbeat vocals weaving around the music. The music begins with "Here," a bouncy tune complete with jangly guitars and a catchy chorus. The lyrics to the song revel in the knowledge that the Lord is there to help whenever, wherever it's needed: "And you're here / Right now where we are / And you're near, not so very far / Some spend their whole lives / Watching, waiting / They don't know where you are / But we know that you're right here / Where we are." The song ends jubilantly, with the lyrics, "Can I even compare / The suffering life brings / When one day I will see your face / And find out what it means."

The other songs are just as unique in their instrumentation and arrangements but still manage to convey the message of the faithful. "Spinning Dizziness" is a tune that begins with Wahrmund's vocals taking on a gloomy, monotone style, but she lightens up in the second verse, "Lord Bring your light / I don't have any fight left in me," sung with lilting backing vocals. This twist in the delivery of the song heightens the message it is trying to convey, which is that of the Lord providing guidance to those in need and confusion. The monotone at the beginning of the song conveys the confusion she feels, while the upbeat, lilting chorus shows hope and faith cutting through that confusion.

The only song that I felt perhaps did not belong on this record was "Dogshow," the beginning of which sounds like circa late '70s-early-'80s punk. Heavy electric guitars, pulsating drums, and Wahrmund's voice deeper, lower and more urgent than on the other songs punctuate this song. The harshness of this tune and the obliqueness of the lyrics seem not to fit with the other songs, in which faith, and even the questioning of it and ultimate capitulation to the Lord is so prevalent and indeed what makes this disc inspiring and thought provoking to listen to.

"More of You" and "Rescue Me" are persuasive tunes, the former dealing with needing the Lord and the latter a lovely tune that touches upon the perils of temptation and takes an almost pleading tone. Wahrmund's vocals shine on "Rescue Me," as well as perhaps the most beautiful tune on the CD, "Epiphany," where her voice takes on a wispy, sweet tone and is less staccato and monotone than on the other tracks here. The part where she sings, "Lord I come to you / After the whole night through / Lord I seek your truth / And you don't let me down . . ." is a melodic and lovely part of the song, backed by flowing drums and banjo-like guitars. This tune puts the emphasis on the trust and faith put forth to the Lord, and how He comes through.

All in all, a very inspiring disc without being preachy.

Chris Chagaris    4/24/2004

CD's are $10. E-mail John Wahrmund at  the_verona@yahoo.com if they want a CD and he'll get back with you on who to send the check to.  
 

   
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