Consisting of the three Baluyut brothers and bassist/singer Fontaine Toups, Versus was responsible for some excellent indie rock throughout the 90s, and the band found a fitting home with the legendary Teen-Beat Records label. It’s been nearly ten years since Versus released new music, and the group’s latest four-song EP, Ex Nihilo, doesn’t disappoint.
The excellent single “Invisible Love” opens Ex Nihilo with a pounding snare drum and a catchy, victorious-sounding lead guitar line before Richard Baluyut’s familiar voice enters and cements the comeback. One third of the way in, the three Baluyut’s back off slightly as Toups gently sings, “You won’t find us, we will find another.” From beginning to end, “Invisible Love” makes for a perfect pop moment. Toups takes over vocal duties on “Bow and Arrow”, a song with a country rock swing that feels somewhat misplaced in the sequence. “Gravity (version)” is another changeup, one that features the addition of a prominent synth playing in and around the band’s sly groove while Fontaine and Richard leapfrog verses before finishing together. Ex Nihilo is concluded with the dreamy “Between the Hemispheres”, a near-ballad that has Versus tying things up nicely with an overall optimistic feeling.
While the three songs after “Invisible Love” never fully retrieve the snappy chemistry harnessed on the EP’s outset, Ex Nihilo does do a good job providing new listeners with a decent range of the styles Versus is capable of. Longtime fans coming to Ex Nihilo will be happy to find little has changed regarding Versus’ sound and will most likely be left chomping at the bit in hopeful anticipation for the release of a more considerably sized album in the future.