Versus the World - Versus the World (Cover Artwork)

Versus the World

Versus the World (2005)

Kung Fu

Versus the World is an amalgam of the members' former bands. The most readily accessible element may be from Ataris bassist Mike Davenport, but it also features members from 40 Cents Short and Antifreeze. I can't say I so much care about any of these bands nor know much about the more obscure ones, but the recipe seems fairly similar in all cases. The focus is mainly on the harmonies belted out by Donald Spencer, who carries the songs fairly effectively with his vocals, infusing the songs with some memorable moments and a whole lot of catchiness. The rhythm section is competent but less than enthralling, and as expected, the guitars run along with fairly safe, but immediately catchy lines. This creates a record that is quite accessible and digestible -- perfect music to play in the background if you want something catchy and mindless -- but ultimately begins to lose much of its appeal after repeated listens .

Far too much of the this type of music -- and especially those bands leaning more heavily to the pop side of things as occurs here -- thrives on mediocrity and lack of creativity. This self-titled debut will easily embed itself in the listener's mind, but it simply doesn't do enough to stay relevant for any lengthy period of time. Proper opener "Is There No End?" showcases Spencer, who croons over highly repetitive drumming and guitars which come off as only slightly more aggressive than each of their respective bands. Most of the lyrics, which are forgettable, are sung, so the unnecessary screams that pop up occasionally are more cringeworthy than detrimental (the one exception may be a passage within "Forgive Me," which shows some balls for once, relatively anyways). "Don't Let Go" features a sugary chorus that drives most of the song, while "Ghost in the Bottle" seems a little too similar to the Ataris for comfort. Their attempt at an acoustic song, "Love Every Scar," is a big failure, but they stay with the original formula for most of the remainder of the album.

There's nothing surprising about these songs seeing where the members come from, but this also plays right into the music, creating a disc that is fairly enjoyable as background music for a while, but can offer little beyond that. Although this album is proficient at certain elements, I see little reason for most people to listen to it unless they especially like the Ataris or pop-punk in general. If not, you've heard this before, probably too many times.