Neverever is the new band from couple Jihae and Wallace Meeks. They met in Glasgow, but relocated to L.A., no doubt lured by sunnier weather and better food. The band is anchored by Jihae's powerful voice and the duo's love of pop music from another era. They combine sixties pop, seventies punk, and nineties pop punk into a mix that is catchy and melodic while retaining a rough edge.
They start off with the slow burn of "Here Is Always Somewhere Else," which could be almost be a 60s prom ballad, with lyrics that reference the couples' transatlantic relationship: "I was crying half the world away/I was dying to hear you softly say/Don't you worry about a thing today/I'll be home and with you I will stay." It ends on a sad note, with Jihae singing, "and I knew that you were never coming home/And I would die here all alone." They may be influenced by the sixties musically, but their lyrical sensibility owes more to Morrissey than to Ronnie Spector.
Lead single "Blue Genes" is Neverever at their best. It swings along like Johnny Marr fronting a punk band, and Jihae's voice commands attention. The lyrics seem to deal with incest – "These teens share more than blue jeans, if you know what I mean." It's catchy, it's upbeat, and it's kind of creepy: the perfect single.
"Coconut Shampoo" is a pop punk blast, speeding along at 100 miles an hour with clean guitars and female backing vocals. Neverever venture into eighties post-punk territory with "Cowboys and Indians," which could be an obscure Siouxsie B-side. "Teardrop Tattoo" is swinging sixties girl-group pop, and "Now" is a Plimsouls cover.
Things get shakier when the group slows down. There is an amateurish quality to Jihae's voice that is laid bare when the tempo drops. She makes it work on "16th Wonder," which contains the wonderful line "you know I'm as stable as a three-legged table," but "Young and Dumb" drags on with Jihae crooning slightly off key. The slower songs don't capitalize on the groups strengths: punky energy and great melodies.
Ultimately, songs like "Young Runaways" and "Bitch Boys" make up for any stumbles the band makes. At their best, Neverever offer perfect pop-punk gems, a sort of Chiffons meets Ramones meet the Smiths at a 1994 Lookout Records showcase. Neverever may not cure cancer, but they sure are a lot of fun: the perfect summer album.