A Verse Unsung - Sleeping Tigers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

A Verse Unsung

Sleeping Tigers (2007)


There's something to be said for just being catchy. There's a special talent in crafting a song with just the right rhythms and just the right melodies to make you want to listen over, and over, and over again. Minneapolis' A Verse Unsung understand this, and their debut, Sleeping Tigers is a perfect reflection of their knowledge and ability to implement it.

Rhythm is where it all starts, and the opening track, "Surround Me" has a real bombast that keeps the flow moving quickly and allows the big voice of singer Jake Scherer to come to the forefront. He's got a strong understanding of vocal dynamics that allow him to perfectly coalesce to the ebb and flow of whatever song he's singing over. If it's a more punchy, start-and-stop flow, his delivery reflects that; if it's a more smooth rise-and-fall type of flow, his delivery reflects that as well. Versatility or not, Scherer is at his best when really bellowing.

"A Better Place" allows him full freedom to do so; the slow pace of the track is a perfect forum for Scherer to display the full range of his vocal cords, and after some clean chord progressions towards the end of the song, he just lets go amidst the powerful rise-and-fall of the instrumentation underneath him. It's the kind of moment that the songs before that had been hinting at, and although he had been impressive before that track, it wasn't until right then that it was clearly evident what Scherer is capable of.

It's important not to forget that the band is capable of a much more mellow sound, however, and nowhere is that more apparent than "Pray for Me." The most low-key of the album's 10 tracks, the song finds Scherer and his bandmates in a much more reserved and contemplative light. Even when toned down to fit the delicate instrumentation of the song, Scherer's voice shimmers and soars above the track, leaving no one to question his ability to adapt to a different rhythm and melody.

As if it's not evident enough by my repeated mention of his name, Jake Scherer is the real star of this album. Though he plays guitar as well, he obviously couldn't do much without his bandmates, but none of that changes the fact that his vocal presence on this album is what will propel it to notoriety.

As well it should.