There are countless bands who have been relegated to some form of cult status and yet among musicians and others in the know, they’re beloved and highly influential. The Verlaines, named after the French Symbolist poet, Paul Verlaine are one of those bands – especially for New Zealanders. Vocalist and guitarist Graeme Downes formed the back back in 1981. The band’s first recorded effort, a track on the Dunedin Double EP launched not only their careers, but the careers of several of their Flying Nun Records labelmates. And although there have been several lineup changes, the band – and more importantly, Downes – has developed a reputation for well-crafted songs with sophisticated yet approachable lyrics about drunkards and other hopeless romantics with elements of pop and classical composition. Flying Nun Records with their partners Captured Tracks will be re-issuing the Verlaines’ debut full-length Hallelujah – All The Way Home and the subsequent singles compilation Juvenilia on December 3rd.
For those of us in the States, the re-issuing of the Verlaines’ work will be an introduction to one of New Zealand’s most influential indie rock bands. “Phil Too,” the first single off the re-issue of Juvenilia is an incredibly crafted and yet approachable bit of indie rock that will remind some listeners of the Replacements and XTC – thanks in part to the fact that the song bears a similar jangling guitar pop that comes off in weird and unexpected angles.