Never Shout Never
- Article by: Jamie McCormick
- Posted: 09/20/2011
Christofer Drew and his deliberately mussed mop of hair recorded a third full-length installment of Never Shout Never’s Time Travel (available today from Warner Bros. Records), with the support of three full-fledged bandmates for the first time. No longer a solo act, Never Shout Never have developed a fuller sound than before, but without losing the essential playful pop quality of previous albums.
With strikingly sweet vocals reminiscent of Owl City and a falsetto enhanced by youth, Drew sashays his way through a dream pop lineup of lyrical playgrounds using words as stylish toys to tell his story and satisfy his whims. Part mega-pop prince, part troubadour, he’s not always deep, but he's usually clever, and the solid lineup of musicians behind him allows him the space to play, providing well-executed, anthemic tunes, unpredictable chords, tempo changes and electro highlights.
The title track leads off the show, entering in style with ethereal chimes and a soaring chorus. A dramatic nearly a cappella break in the middle leads into a repeating almost chant, as “Time Travel” brings in notes worthy of any space flick soundtrack and shows off the slightly rockier edge of the pop cliff. The song teeters on that edge but maintains its balance.
The infinitely singable “Simplistic Trance-like Getaway” is a modern electro update of the Eddie Money classic “Two Tickets to Paradise.” It holds true to the “Baby, grab my hand and let's just get out of here” theme, but with a melody that’s interesting enough to justify its existence and escape the trite theme abyss. Despite the somewhat gangly title, you'll want to bob and sing along.
The final track on the album, “Lost at Sea,” begins with composite, layered a cappella vocals not seen since the spectacular bygone days of Queen and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Once again, it is an anthem begging to be chanted from the crow's nest and bow of your vessel, or wherever else your travels might have taken you.
Recorded in a studio just outside of their iconically middle America hometown of Joplin, Mo., and earning more than ever in both music and style points, Time Travel may be the best Never Shout Never album yet. It combines the sometimes snarky and always artful songwriting of Drew with a solid lineup of pop musicians with a rock alter-ego. The result is a less pure form of pop that is better for its rock-flavored impurities.
"Time Trave" - Never Shout Never