I know it’s hard to believe, but the latest project from Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) is a tad weird. That said, his latest project feels much less like one of the many projects Mike has put his name behind and something he felt artistically necessary. The roots for the project starting growing a long time ago, back in a far away age of 2008, when Patton, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, and Adam “Doseone” Drucker all met in a warehouse to pound out some tunes. The resulting album is more of an accomplishment as something to be appreciated than necessarily enjoyed.
For a project that was mostly completed eight years ago, Nevermen’s experimental sound feels both avant-garde and familiar. Broadly, the group traffic in a sort of psychedelic rap/rock, but this self-titled release is much more challenging and progressive than anything the title implies. Aside from some decidedly hard beats (“At Your Service” for example), this isn’t a particularly heavy release; instead, these gentlemen prefer to pump as much sound into each second as possible. It’s a dense listen that requires multiple listens not just to appreciate but to partially digest. It’s like a big piece of Laffy Taffy: it’s initially too much, but if you keep chewing through it, you eventually appreciate it. Plus, there’s probably a joke somewhere on the wrapper.
One you’ve hit a certain number of spins, these songs begin to hit a surprising level of catchiness. Credit goes to every member of the band of frontmen for adequately splitting mic time, but it’s Tunde’s soulful voice steals the show here. Without his jarringly lovely melodies strewn about the top like sprinkles, the album might feel a bit much. It’s used just enough for good effect, as the music would not work with any more melody. It’s too psychedelic and alternative for that; however, thanks to a heap of passion, this side project feels like a surprising success, even when it feels a bit much. It’s the right kind of rewarding challenge. (Nicholas Senior)