In a world that preaches constant evolution from its artists, producers and technicians, there is something remarkably pleasurable in hearing a rock band doing the basics well. Listening to Never Hill is an instantly enjoyable listen, even if at times the influence of Lower Than Atlantis’ Ben Sansome – who produced the EP – is a little too obvious. But to complain about that is churlish for the result is an immediately likeable and consistent emo (can we still use that term?) rock record.
What is apparent is that the quintet are musically sound and lead singer Adam Ross has a decent vocal range and lyrical authenticity that prevents being another act ending up in the power pop band bin.
Lead track ‘Forgive Me’ is fine and contains the usual nods to angst coupled with a rousing chorus and plenty of collective ‘whoa’s. But actually it’s slightly deeper into the eight-track EP that things get a bit more interesting.
‘Fire’ is a contemporary sounding track about the ineffectiveness of looking back and just as the song builds to an energetic finale it cleverly exits, leaving the listener keen to hear more. The influence of bands such as Fall Out Boy and You Me At Six is clear but it avoids sounding like a US Rock pastiche smartly.
‘Starting Line’ introduces Eleni Drake and is full of emotion with the contrasting vocals working really well. This EP confirms a band that seem ready to make their mark in a competitive genre. The live act will doubtless determine their success or otherwise, as is the case in 2015. The only blot is the rather bizarre ‘Colours’ that misses the mark in terms of rock ballad and all sounds a bit like a boy band b-side.
‘Stay Away’ and ‘Afraid Of The Dark’ actually sound the most accomplished tracks on this engaging EP. Both are thick with production and Ross’ vocal brilliantly moves between fragility and determinism creating a lush energy to tail this recording.
With a short tour to follow and no doubt a full length effort next year, this is band that could get quite a following shortly.
Epilogue [Deluxe Edition] is released on 13th November.
James Van Praag