Although it is a band that currently has but one of its original members — that being lead vocalist Brian Vander Ark — The Verve Pipe is a group that has remained near and dear to my heart for nearly 20 years. The band’s amazingly underrated 1996 album, Villains, is still one of my favorite albums of all time, and I have very fond memories of seeing the band live at places like Irving Plaza, and hanging out with them and another favorite, ill-fated RCA signing, Thin Lizard Dawn, many times. Those were the days. Which reminds me of an industry joke that, while somewhat dated, still makes me chuckle:
Question: How do you stop the spread of AIDS?
Answer: Let BMG distribute it.
If you get that, great. If you don’t, doesn’t matter.
At any rate, I’ve continued to pay attention to Brian Vander Ark’s post-Verve Pipe solo career, seeing him live when he plays NYC and buying his albums, because he’s a pretty decent songwriter and his voice will always, always remind me of Genesis-era Peter Gabriel. In fact it still does, even in this newfangled version of The Verve Pipe that has very little to do with the band that recorded This Fucking Awesome Song, but got popular singing a song about a Fucked up shit that happens to you when you are in college, or whatever.
The animated video inspired by this week’s tune, “Hit and Run,” (off their latest album release, Overboard) was created by Ofir Sasson, an independent animator and illustrator from Tel-Aviv. As an inspiration for his visual style, Ofir points to early animation and film works of the 30’s through 50’s and an illustration style characterized by simple geometrical shapes and lines, together with dark and gritty themes. This explains the dark sensibility that jibes with the essence of The Verve Pipe’s best material. Because happy music is for idiots. Just kidding. Sort of. Not really.
Meanwhile, the band is undertaking an experiment that shows you just how much Vander Ark has learned over the years from having taken (and survived) a near-fatal music industry beat-down: beginning with the September 25th release of the track “If I Could Make You Feel,” the band will release a new single digitally every two weeks for download (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) or streaming (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Pandora, etc.), That’s right, only available digitally, this new music will not be available on CD. Genius.