One of the brightest artists of the last few years, VÉRITÉ, AKA Kelsey Regina Byrne, has just made yet another claim for your sonic land as she delivers a quite stunning sophomore record in new skin. Listen to it here and order the release here.
It’s easy to get into the labelling game when you’re reviewing music. It feels comfortable and safe to categorise an artist and keep them in their pigeonhole for all time. VÉRITÉ though isn’t here to make you feel comfortable, she’s here to make you think. The new album is probably most easily categorised as “alt-pop” but if you were to do that then walk away with a dismissive shrug, you’d be missing the point.
The first two tracks of the record offer so much depth and delicacy that it transcends the sensibilities of pop, despite the effortlessly gleaming production, and invites you to sit back and truly engage with the album. ‘new skin’, the first track off the LP, delivers on the first vulnerable notes as VÉRITÉ exposes the bones of falling in love and duly covers them back up with that a reciprocated feeling, all buoyed by her impeccable vocals. While the ‘good for it’ piano lands plum on the pop spectrum, leaving an earworm worthy of making you wiggle throughout your day and night.
It all kicks up a notch on ‘ocean’ as the beat quickens and intensifies, all while playing the best supporting actor for the starring vocal power of VÉRITÉ. ‘youth’ continues the trend and provides an anthem for unrequited love, all set to the pulsating sonic landscape VÉRITÉ creates. ‘body in my bed’ the next song up, develops further on a missed moment of intimacy and a love which is going undeniably stale. It’s a new take on the feeling of that loss that is worthy of your time.
‘faded’ gets a little, well, faded, as it builds on insomniac tones, building and falling with the intricacy of late-night stress out. The themes of losing love continue to swell with a nuanced and fresh sound. ‘medicine’ paws at the straggling thread of self-medication and it’s heavenly taste rooted in hell. It’s a gem of a track with a killer hook.
Next track up is ‘think of me’ and it can be easily summed up with these lines: “I hope you fuck her with your eyes closed / And think of me / I hope you love her with the lights low / And think of me”. This context placed next to the juxtaposing tone of the piano, which is light and playful, makes for a near-perfect pop song.
The final two tracks of the album provide the reprieve following the “stand-up-and-don’t-give-a-fuck” attitude of the previous set. On ‘gone’ VÉRITÉ is in a reflective mood, contemplating love and her own ability to blow it up without warning. ‘amnesia’ concludes the album with another slower, more refined piece. VÉRITÉ offers up a touching moment of clarity, like the settling moment, as your nerves calm, and you realise that you too were part of the argument that rendered you so angry.
With that conclusion, VÉRITÉ provides a clear narrative. She’s depicting the modernity of love and the personality traits it allows you to mutate with almost every moment. This is a record about the undulating power of love and relationships, not the exciting beginning, nor the tragic end, but the meandering middle.
VÉRITÉ is clearly reaching a new height artistically, she’s able to deliver radio-ready alt-pop tunes, gilded with the finest glimmering gold but packed with the enveloping dark edge of an artist who is here to express herself, not write you another pop hit. Her tracks are deeply personal, purposefully poetic, and definitively barbed with razor-sharp intelligence.
VÉRITÉ is the truth in pop we’ve been looking for.