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CD Review: Never Shout Never

Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011

Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011 11:09

Never Shout Never CD review

Kevin Deems

Never Shout Never.

Never Shout Never

Time Travel

(Sire/Warner Bros.)

Grade: B 


It took the uke-wielding Christopher Drew two albums and six EPs to finally release a record with a permanent band. Everything in good time, as they say. Although, there's no real telling how much adding twelve limbs and three brains has changed the natural direction Drew was heading in anyway.

Time Travel is certainly a departure from the acoustic days of Harmony and the inquisitive nature of What Is Love?, but with Drew singing about being strung out, "off" in one song ("Awful") and, in another, about taking trips out to speak to the moon while explicitly high on acid ("Time Travel"), it could just be the drugs coming through the music.

Time Travel is a darker side to Never Shout Never, paired with arena guitars, glitchy synth and space-age settings for his lyrical stories of love lost and squandered. Drew's lyrics have matured with years of touring.

At a brief eight tracks, the album borders EP territory but is clearly a cohesive effort. Time Travel is one of NSN's darkest albums to date, with the edge of Muse's outer space odysseys and the triumph of a Queen arrangement without the epic egos. It's the biggest sound the band has recorded. Drew's still singing like a love-sick puppy, of course, but in a more interesting, or nonsensical, way than before.

On "Time Travel," the album's eponymous track and first single, Drew talks about selling his soul to the devil, howling at the moon until the sun melts his eyes and serving his mind on a plate and seasoning it with acid and MDMA. If Ke$ha's love drug is a gateway to this, by all means, it changes our answer to the surges of guitar in "Complex Heart" pushing Drew's repeated question, "Is it so wrong to be in love?"

We have decidedly mixed feelings. There's something appealing in each track, from the breakdown in "Robot" to the a cappella opening of "Lost At Sea."

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