Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Nevermores - Now More Than Never

I have had the honor of playing with some amazing drummers over the years and a fave has always
been Roger Ward, who pounded behind me in the Tommyknockers - stellar player, reasonably sane and a damn nice guy. A number of years ago he relocated from LA to St. Louis and has played in a few different groups there (even spending some time as a long-distance drummer for the Fuzztones). His current project is the Nevermores, where he joins forces with John Ebert (guitar/vocals), Steve Marquis (bass/keys/sitar/vocals) and Jason Sanders (guitar and sitar).

While I have heard the band in the past and always dug what they were doing, here they up the ante significantly and have put out a monster slab of garage madness! This starts out with Roger slamming the sex-beat and then the gnarly guitars come in with a cool, staccato chord riff and John's vocals are a good balance of snotty and tuneful, as the rest do a call'n'answer chorus. After "Crescent Moon", we get the feedback-drenched "I'm Waiting", where the guitars wail like a mastodon sinking into the tar pits! But, this is another upbeat rocker that will get you shakin'n'movin'! They have really honed their songwriting here - quite a step above and beyond any of their previous efforts and of many of their garage contemporaries.

Cool sci-fi sound effects open the more psychedelic "Lilly's 11th", with its tremelo'd guitars and fuzz riffs and nice, almost off-time rhythm. Really diggin' the lead work, throughout, as well. Nice descending riff reminiscent of a few other tunes opens up "Adeline" as it turns into another garage smasher. Some little sonar bleeps appropriately start out "Tangerine Submarine", a power-pop garage tune with some catchy dynamics and licks.

Not sure how many formats this was released on, but I've got a rose/marble colored 12", so side two begins with a wah-wahed Big Ben toll for "12 Bells" that has some very distinctive backing and this melds into another groovy hard-edged crasher with a chorus and musical tag-line that sounds familiar, but ya just can't place it. And then they add a Count V-styled rave-up and a Lollipop Shoppe turnaround! Wow!

More upbeat rock'n'roll in "Like a Pill", again sounding fresh yet recognizable, as is the stop'n'start of "House of Smoke and Mirrors". "Blue Diamond" is a fierce number, sounding like a mix of 60's garage and frantic punk'n'roll. A smokin' riff opens and moves into a shimmy-shakin' keyboard instrumental - wild and groovy! The closing "Shallow Grave" has a gargantuan fuzz riff (sorta/kinda lifted from the Doors "L'America"), more tremelo'd guitars, more keys - damn near the whole garagey kitchen sink! Great noisy/spooky ending to a great record.

Yes, suppose you can guess that I dig this! Really outstanding slab of garage rock'n'roll!