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||Fond du Lac, WI
Tony Anders: Vocals/Guitar; Charlie Wilhelm: Bass/Vocals; Josh Helm: Drums
About the ArtistAlmost Hollywood-esque in the story of its fruition, The Story Thought Over is the result of nearly a year of songwriting, eventually streamlined and focused in August of 2006 when the trio’s label, who found and wooed them earlier that year, transplanted them from Oshkosh, WI to Los Angeles, where they set them up in an apartment and practice space to pen the record. The experience of that relocation lifted the musicians, who had never set foot in LA prior to the trip, outside of their comfort zones and, as Anders says, “opened [their] eyes to the rest of the world and what’s out there.”
“Really getting away from everything in our element in Wisconsin and getting out of the normal heavily influenced our writing on the record,” Anders says of the process. “A lot of the songs are about a dream. Everyone’s got an idea of where they want to be someday and what they want to do. For me it was happening. We got this record deal, now we were in LA and I never could have dreamed that, but here it is. I think that’s what a lot of the writing focused on.”
Five months of writings and several eye-opening experiences later Verona Grove entered the studio with Jamie Arentzen, producer and guitarist of beloved rock band American Hi-Fi, who the band says brought a whole other dimension to the record. Verona Grove spent two months in an LA studio with Arentzen, refining their already solid songs into 11 hook-driven, thoughtful pop-rock tracks that resound with the group’s signature driving, catchy choruses and Anders’ relatable lyrics. The propulsive “Goodbye Surrender” exemplifies the threesome’s talent for accessibility with jumping hooks reminiscent of The All-American Rejects while “Revolution” showcases Verona Grove’s more serious side, with dipping and soaring guitars and aching vocals. The compelling “Why Would You” boasts a dangerously infectious chorus, drawing subtle influence from bands like Jimmy Eat World and The Get-Up Kids.
The cohesive camaraderie of Verona Grove, who originally formed in 2001 in their hometown of Fond du Lac, WI and have stuck together from high school through college to today, where they stand on the brink of heavy touring and promotion, is heavily evident throughout the record. The Story Thought Over, which Anders describes as “the story in your head of what you want your dream to be,” isn’t just an album; it’s a call of motivation.
“I see people around that have so much more potential than they use,” Anders says of what he hopes listeners will take away from the disc. “I see people who are so frustrated with life, but they could get to another level if they just went out there a little bit more and tried some of the things that they want. There’s hard times and there’s easy times, but you really have to work for what you want. And if there is something you want you can make it happen.”
And that, is certainly something Verona Grove would know.
August 2008 Rock