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Chicago's Verma Return With Sunrunner, Their Best Album Yet

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 8, 2014 8:15PM

In terms of both songcraft and sonic experimentation, the latest album from Chicago quintet Verma, Sunrunner, is their strongest effort yet in an already strong catalogue. The psych-kraut musical mixologists celebrate the release of Sunrunner with a free, 21+ show at the Empty Bottle Monday, June 9.

Verma debuted with a self-titled effort on local microlabel Plustapes that mixed the hypnotic rhythms of German experimental rock, ambient soundscapes, and volcanic guitars to make a dizzying psychedelic rock sound.

Since that debut, Verma have returned with a new album every year or so, with some efforts being more experimental (like their instrumental LPs) and others being more rock-oriented, like Salted Earth.

Their first proper full-length, Exu, split the difference between these two sounds, and follow up Sunrunner [Trouble ln Mind] is an even better cohesive fit of the two approaches.

On Sunrunner, tracks like "Erato," an instrumental comprised of operatic space organ segue effortlessly into crunch, post-punk inspired tunes like "The Traveller," while a more mid-tempo number like "Hologrammer" (for streaming below) gives a more rhythmic classic rock heft to otherworldly sound collages.

The overall effect is propulsive, and, while Verma are very likely to indulge in experimental, instrumental passages, they also know how to bounce those ideas off of each other to create compelling ensemble work. At 7 songs, and 31 minutes, Sunrunner feels like a journey into the sonic cosmos, but one that never wears out its welcome. Chicago music fans should be very excited by this record. Catch it in the flesh at the Empty Bottle.

The Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western Ave.