Beach Blanket Bingo or Blue Hawaii starring Bettie Page — this is the morphed interpretation of the ’50s and ’60s sound that Neverever have run with on their debut album Angelic Swells. It’s all jangly guitars, sock hop-friendly songs, and love & lust lyrics sung with the aching, sultry soul of front woman Jihae Meek. Sock hops and beach movies — why that’s about as American as it can be! Funny, then, that the Los Angeles based Neverever originally hail from the sunny sands of Scotland.
Merging the days of girl groups and The Beach Boys with the less polished, female-fronted early punk pop bands like Blondie and The Go Go’s, Jihae and hubby Wallace Meek have whipped up a summer friendly release that’s fun and frisky. It’s a nostalgic look back without delving too deeply into what’s already been done.
Kick off track “Here Is Always Somewhere Else” is a slow building, somber number that doesn’t do justice to the shimmy and shake pace of the rest of the record, but is soon erased by the 1-2-3 punch of “Blue Genes,” “Coconut Shampoo,” and “Now,” three songs so perfectly encapsulating the confusing and gloriously passionate years of youth that they make me want to slam my bedroom door, turn my stereo all the way up, and smoke cigarettes out my window. When the mood swings from manic to depressed, the misanthropic listener can simply skip ahead to “16th Wonder,” for a slow dance, cry in the corner tale of heartache.
Ending on an upswing with “Teardrop Tattoo,” with its joyful chorus of “ollie ollie oxen free,” and the handclap heavy “Young and Dumb” further stack the bricks in Neverever’s favor making this release a near-perfect play for those hot summer days, and those su-uh-mer… nigh-ights.