Album Premiere – Needs Help by The Very Most (2020) (Kocliko Records / Lost Sound Tapes)
Janglepophub are hugely honoured to have been afforded the opportunity to premiere the entire Needs Help album by The Very Most, two days before the release date on 09.10.20.
The ‘honour’ emanates from the fact that Boise, Idaho, based Jeremy Jensen and his The Very Most project have been one of my favourite (certainly one of the most consistent) acts over a preceding fifteen years, that has seen them release four albums/seven EP’s .
Despite the tenure of this fan/band relationship, Jensen still manages to draw me into every release with an immediacy that few other acts can muster. This release is certainly no different in that respect, but perhaps sticks it’s head above the loftiest of musical parapets, by being their best yet?
Essentially, this album is everything that I appreciate about the genuine sense of ‘pop’. Not the ‘pop’ that commercial radio plays, that tends to be engulfed in machines and sung by gorgeous vocalists who could sell a million copies with one perfect smile, but more specifically the sense of pop that slathers melodies, harmonies, cute, left field and anything else an artist can get their hands on, into a sound that has no real need or intent to be cool. It is music for music’s sake. It is perfect.
The Very Most aesthetic is the epitome of the above. It takes a definitive Belle and Sebastian foundation, both from the simplicity of the music and the way in which they twist nasty little stories/emotions through the most precious of sounds and then seemingly cherry picking / juxtaposing the best of what 60s and 70’s pop had to offer into the aural experience.
As such Her Three-Year Old Laugh or The Time The Microphones Played in My Living Room, That Thing You Like About Yourself (Is Hurting You) (Featuring Melanie Whittle)and I Live My Boring Dreams, represent the best of a plethora of tracks that wrap all things 70s pop/pop rock around the Belle and Sebastian template.
In comparison Do I Have to Do My Best All the Time? (Featuring Kristine Capua and Cristina Quesada), The Wrong Skills and Ten Years From Now Today (Featuring Sarah Lowenbot) drift towards a more subdued, retro 60s twee-pop feel. They are the ‘imagined soundtrack’ to famous photographers of the era taking pictures of impossibly thin models outside some famous London landmark. ‘That’ sort of uncontrived cool.
Of course pop can become a pastiche if it is too shrouded in all things yesteryear. Jensen avoids this by infusing the modernity of mid-album tracks like To Just Be Good (Featuring Gerri White), Better Fight Fighting (Featuring Sally Jati) and Six Syllables (Featuring Gina Gregerson) with the salacious, jangly sophisti/indie pop style of label mates The National Honor Society and the controlled experimentation of the latest Even As We Speak incarnation, respectively. These are tracks that temper any accusations of overt saccharine.
Ultimately, this was a brave project. Utilizing numerous, well known predominantly female vocalists, could have meant the album lost a sense of flow and consistency. However, the transistions are seamless, such is the uniform quality of some of indie music finest chanteuses and because of the sheer beauty of the surrounding music they so perfectly contribute to.
Needs Help is out of on Friday 09.10.20 on digital/CD/tape formats (CD released by Kocliko Recordsis available here and the cassette is available from Lost Sound Tapes here) … if ever arelease deserves our patronage, then it is this one!