Poison The Well – Versions

As you have no doubt heard by now, the past three or so years have been filled with drama for Miami, Flroida’s Poison The Well. Continuing their tradition of the good ol’ label shuffle, they have this time moved from major label Atlantic to hardcore label Ferret Music, along with losing two members.

Technically, Poison The Well are a three piece nowadays, and it really shows on this record, the ideas seem to be there but they aren’t quite pulled off with the same intensity and depth. It’s a re-invention of sorts, but thankfully this doesn’t quite make for a terrible record.

Versions sees them take a more –  “matured’ direction – for want of better word – and the songs aren’t all about shredding screams and blisteringly heavy music as seen on earlier releases. There is a greater focus on the melodic singing side of things, though there are still plenty of Jeffrey Moreira’s bellowing howls.

Nagaina stands out as one of the better songs of the bunch, a slower number with an eerie feel to it, slowly cutting into a wave of guitars against drums, with vocals wavering like notes played down strings with a slide. Another standout track lies in Prematurio El Baby, a flat out fast punk rock song set to howls, with a bridge so corybantic that if the drum beats were synched to strobe lights then even the healthiest of us would be sure to suffer a epileptic seizure.

Recorded in Sweden by Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lovstro, the guys behind the knobs for Refused’s The Shape of Punk To Come, Versions displays a similar raw sound to the former. As mentioned before, there does however seem to be something lacking, a certain power to the songs which is likely to be a mix of factors including production on a small label budget and the loss members key to their sound.

Predominantly, this album is a slower, almost –  “softer’ album than previous efforts, which might turn off some of the older fans. This will probably always be referred to as the ugly brother to the rest of their catalogue, and while it is true that it pales in comparison if you can look at this for what it is and not as a reference point to older material, this is actually a pretty worthwhile listen. I wouldn’t write them off just yet, this is simply a band trying to find their feet again.