Reviewed by Kit Burns
Vera Zero/War & Peace
Is punk dead? That seems to be a question that has been circulated since Green Day and the Offspring finally graduated from the campus airwaves and onto frat-boy car stereos in the mid-’90s. Its origin is in, of course, the idea that punk has become acceptable to the masses and therefore has choked on its own vomit. After listening to Vera Zero’s five-track EP, I must argue the contrary although admittedly passing by any Hot Topic store these days is a painful experience.
Vera Zero has the snotty, smart-ass attitude of classic American punk while keeping in favor with the genre’s post-Green Day embrace of phat guitar hooks and radio-friendly vocal harmonies. It’s not a sell out, by any means, as Rob Kerr (who is Vera Zero) isn’t writing for anybody but himself. There isn’t any of that preteen brattiness here that grates on the nerves of anybody above the age of 21. “So What?” peers from the eyes of someone who is jaded by the current interchangeable alt-rock population. “The Heart of Midlothian” takes its name from a novel by Sir Walter Scott, proving that punks do read books. I’d like to see what Kerr can do on a full-length release, stretch out his artistry; for now, I’ll settle for this EP, which is cuts above the usual punk-rock crashers.