The Very Most – Making the Case for Me

The Very Most
Making the Case for Me

Every person has a hero. When you listen to music, it’s inevitable that you will find someone that you connect with musically, whether it’s a solo artist or the frontman/frontwoman of a band. You will listen to that person’s music incessantly, find out odd details about his/her life, and become what is known as “a rabid fan of’ your hero. For example, mine is Ben Folds. But some people take hero worship a little far. If I’m not mistaken, Jeremy Jensen (also known as The Very Most) idolizes Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.
How can I tell? Well, it could be coincidence that Making the Case for Me has the same exact sound as Brian Wilson’s masterpiece Pet Sounds, but it’s highly unlikely. The melancholy, dreamy surf-pop that Brian Wilson invented and perfected is regurgitated here in Making the Case for Me. “Changing Me” even has the surf-pop ah’s to go along with a long dreamy instrumental break. I could’ve sworn it was Brian Wilson’s work. Another reason for the immediate connection is the production style. Brian Wilson’s production style is EXACTLY the same as Jeremy Jensen’s production style. The emphasis on repetition, the technique of bringing auxiliary instruments (such as bells, synth, and others) to the front, the flowing ease of vocals, importance of harmony, hollow drumming style, quirky guitar ditties, and obsession with lush, meandering arrangements are all qualities shared by these two. Heck, use this as an example of how close they are: “Pet Sounds” (the song) is an instrumental; “Making the Case for Me” (the song) is also an instrumental. Coincidence?
The Very Most does have good songs occasionally, such as “Up and Died,” a lyrically morbid but musically quirky beach pop/folk mishmash propelled by the lyric “I can’t believe / that you actually died!” Female vocals accompany Jensen’s voice, and it’s a very pleasant little song. “Multnomah Now” is a good song as well, a head-bobbing piece that doesn’t really go anywhere, but hey, I enjoyed it while it was getting there!
For fairness, I will grant that there are a few non-Beach Boys moments. “Fashionably Mean” sounds nothing like the Beach Boys; in fact, it sounds like the Beatles, if they rocked the early 90s. But there is one truly original song here: “Sweet Job with Satan.” It does have Beach Boys leanings, but it has a chorus that drives like a VW Bug: it doesn’t go very fast, but it IS considerably faster than you were going before with no car.
This album is an interesting experiment in Brian Wilson worship, and subsequently there is little new ground turned here. While this is a fun trip to the 60s, you’ll find yourself wanting to pull out Pet Sounds more than you want to repeat Making the Case for Me.