Nevermen’s initial press shot showed the trio sporting t-shirts featuring logos from god awful corporations such as The Church of Scientology and Whitesnake. It was fitting given that the trio - Doseone, TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and Faith No More chameleon Mike Patton - are professionals contrarians: artists who are unlikely to take the easy path or do the obvious thing. It’s a quality that permeates this long-in-the-works debut.
As much as combining such talents very much sounds like A Good Idea, a first spin of the record is akin to trying to cram three erections into one orifice: it’s excellent in theory, but in practice there’s too much busywork going on to fully satisfy anyone. Bit by bit, however, the dissonance and contrasts interweave into a tapestry that’s much more logical than is first apparent.
Barely a split-second passes by without one of three crooning or rapping in the foreground or harmonising and hollering and croaking and quacking in the back. Once you overcome the feeling of being hassled by a troop of tantrumous toddlers, the structural underpinnings of the songs come to the fore and allow these occasionally genius moments of vocal interplay to reveal their mesmeric minutiae.
Given the calibre of the talent involved it’s unsurprisingly to discover that no-one truly dominates proceedings. Inevitably it sounds a lot TV On The Radio simply because Adebimpe’s voice is the most obviously distinct of this free-flowing tag-team, but there are more than echoes of the sinister, reassembled productions of Doseone’s cLOUDDEAD and the bigger moments from Patton’s paranoid pop pastiche Peeping Tom.
Although largely a strong body of work, the album’s borderline moments of geniune greatness - 'Hate On', 'Dark Ear' and 'Mr. Mistake', the latter of which is surely the most sonically soothing track to reference a nuclear winter - aren’t replicated with any real consistency. They probably hate the term, but Nevermen are a supergroup whose strong debut only sporadically hurtles towards the collective power that its participants can potentially rise to. How predictable. Hey, I thought you guys were contrarians!
Words: Ben Hopkins
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