(5 / 5)
It’s rare that you will come across a young band with such a strong identity and sense of direction, so early on in their career, as Neverman.
A very impressive four-piece indie outfit from Portsmouth in the UK. Big, powerful sound, a wall of guitars that cut through like a hot knife on butter, and even stronger vocals.
Yes, indeed…Singer Matt McGowan is a real find. But it is not all about the vocals. Very much a unit sound. The strength of the material a vital cog in their wheel.
“It’s Not a Prison, It’s a Prism” is a hugely accomplished sound for a debut release, other than a bunch of singles.
Making music together for two years, Neverman have built up a loyal following on home turf and sold out venues across the south coast, winning airtime on BBC Introducing.
Matt studied music locally and then in Bristol, also playing acoustic gigs as a solo artist. But his singing career was halted abruptly when an accident crushed his larynx. This preceded three long years when he was unable to utter a note, thinking his singing days were over.
But with determination his vocals came back and he picked up where he left off. This time as part of a band. Meeting guitarist Craig Arnold at college, and then being put in touch with bassist Aaron Payne and Aaron’s pal, drummer Liam Nesbitt, to form Neverman.
Matt’s three-year absence from the stage and the inability to sing were not wasted. He penned a stack of songs which he took to the newly formed band, who helped him make them into the Neverman set.
The four tracks on this EP, recorded at famed Monmow Valley in Wales, blast into life with the powerful “e=mcK”. It grabs you by the scruff of the neck from the off. The production of the ballsy drums and the sizzling guitars, and the clarity of the in-yer-face vocal, is quite something.
Perhaps nodding to Muse as an influence, in particular the Muse track “Supermassive Black Hole”, “e=mcK” offers grungy tones and the bottom end hitting your chest.
“Holes” offers more passionate vocals, but a more restrained delivery on a slow burn mid-tempo cut that maybe would have been better placed at the end of the four tracks here. After the frantic build-up of the opener, it dips the energy levels a tad. Still a decent listen though.
“Picasso Dream” has a swagger and confidence about it, and is slightly different from the other tracks here. The final track, “Ibiza 98” sits on a slight jazz flavour, building in intensity and is not too far away from Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Matt’s vocals soar and swoop, as innate as it comes.
The sound on the guitars and the bass that the engineer has delivered across this EP, is reminiscent of some superstar band in a vast stadium on a hot summers day. Such a big, rich sound. Astounding for a first EP.
Personally, I cannot remember the last time I was this excited to find out what a band will do next, and I get the feeling that ‘It’s Not a Prison, It’s a Prism’ rally is only the beginning of big things to come for this best kept secret from the British seaside.
By Jacob Garner
See Neverman live
- 14th March – The Finsbury, N4 London
- 22nd March – The Hope and Ruin, Brighton
- 20th Feb – The Thomas Trip, Bournemouth
- 10th April – House of Rapture, Portsmouth
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’