Never Shout Never is back with Black Cat
The band’s sound evolves but I miss the ukulele
Never Shout Never
Warner Bros Records
Released August 7, 2015
I used to listen to Never Shout Never all the time in high school. I first discovered the band when I saw them live at a local music festival back home; they were just an opening act for some band that I can’t remember the name of. Ukulele and light acoustic guitar made up the base of their instrumentals, and that’s what really caught my attention — I was just learning guitar at the time, and their music was simple enough for me to play. I was excited when I learned that they were releasing a new album, Black Cat, this August.
Black Cat has ten songs and a total playtime of only 34 minutes, so it’s a quick and easy listen. The band is known for its interesting and quirky sound which is a mixture of bubblegum-pop and emo music. Some songs have sweet, romantic vocals accompanied by ukulele, while others are heavier with guitar and angsty lyrics. It was interesting to see the band incorporate (with varying degrees of success) electronic and rock elements to their sound with Black Cat. However, I was sort of disappointed that there wasn’t as much ukulele.
Singer Christofer Drew’s vocals were on point throughout the album, but not every track hit the mark lyrically — some songs were borderline boring, and others were well-meaning but teenage and cliche. Never Shout Never’s songs are generally either summery and full of romance (some tracks celebrate love, others lament it), or are fast-paced dance songs. While my favorite track was “Red Balloon,” I also really enjoyed “Hey! We OK!” and “Black Cat.” However, the remaining songs were pretty average: they were not bad — I wouldn’t skip them if they came up on Pandora — but I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to add them to a playlist. While Never Shout Never had a few notable tracks on Black Cat, I think it’s safe to say that I prefer their older stuff. Regardless, the album is pretty feel-good and light-hearted, so I’d definitely suggest you give it a listen if you like poppy, indie, sometimes folksy music (it’s mellow enough to serve as background study music at the very least).