Jun 2011 20

Cover Image
Red This Ever
Category: Goth / New Wave
Album: Never Listen
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Red This Ever tragically drops the ball on what could have been a great sophomore release.

 

The second album from Baltimore’s Red This Ever shows the band has made great strides in their writing and style, but has utterly fallen apart in terms of production and sound quality. A modern twist on ‘80s new wave and post-punk, Red This Ever merges catchy synth lines with warm but gloomy vocals and rock guitar to produce a style that feels both familiar and fresh. Unfortunately, even though it should be an exciting follow-up showing the growth and talent of this act, the demo tape quality sound production ends up leaving the listener sorely disappointed and longing for what this album obviously could have been.

As the album plays out the sound mix issues quickly become obvious and distracting. With “A Hundred Miles Behind Me,” the audio levels on the drums are so out of proportion that they suffer from slight distortion and much of the song is drowned out by an overpowering and unpleasant bass kick. Throughout the album, the mix is inconsistent in a manner that makes it impossible for it to be written off as a “stylistic choice,” and instead feels rushed and sloppy. Tracks like “Only Survivor,” “Touched,” and “Small Conditions” will vary wildly in which instrument will sound muffled, distorted, or tinny leaving mammoth blemishes on tracks that really could have been much better if the sound mix would have been taken seriously. Despite these complaints, there are still many rays of sunlight that manage to peek through the cloudy sound mix. The debut album, Selfless suffered lyrically due to an overly simplistic, heavy-handed, Dr. Seuss-ian rhyming scheme that, other than in “Pretty Little Josephine,” doesn’t really make an appearance on Never Listen, and results in a much more compelling vocal presentation. There are also tracks like “Where Are You?” and “Amazing Grace” that have some wonderful energy to them and show off the softer, and grittier sides of Red This Ever, and even some of the shoddier mixed tracks like “A Hundred Miles Behind Me” and “Total Control” have strong choruses that will stick with you.

The warm and welcoming male vocals delicately balance on the line between gloom and heartfelt crooning and generally shine through even the roughest moments of the album. The only time they really don’t work is “Ahhhhhhhhh, Let’s Go!” with the song’s chorus feeling held back because of vocals that don’t quite carry the intensity that seems needed for this lively track. Though a lot of the guitar work provides fairly standard rock flourishes, it is appropriate and works well within the context of the album. Largely used to supply some extra edge to the music, the guitar work does get a few opportunities to shine in the tracks “Only Survivor” and “Where Are You?” and provides an excellent Southern California punk feel to “Amazing Grace.” In the same boat as the guitars, the synth work largely adds a bolder flavor to the album, but takes over some of the spotlight in tracks like “Gone Out Of Style” and “New Skin.” Red This Ever obviously has the elements to be great, but even the finest ingredients and the best recipes still require a talented chef to put them together, and in this case the results came out a bit burnt.

With its striking vocals, rhythms, and arrangements, Never Listen shows all the signs that it could have been and should have been a much better album, but the inconsistent and amateurish sound mix on it just completely wrecks the album. There are many exceptionally catchy, memorable, and impressive moments to be found, but more often than not they are better in memory than they actually exist on the album, leaving the dream of the album to be much better than the reality of it. Sadly, Never Listen is a rather prophetic title because, despite the obvious strides the band has made, the poor production quality makes the album very difficult to enjoy, leaving the title as a reminder that the listener is better off sticking with their hazy memory of the album than actually listen to it.
 
Track list:

  1. New Skin
  2. A Hundred Miles Behind Me
  3. Total Control
  4. Small Conditions
  5. Plans
  6. Gone Out of Style
  7. Only Survivor
  8. Pretty Little Josephine
  9. Where Are You?
  10. Amazing Grace
  11. Ahhhhhhhhh, Let’s Go!
  12. Touched

 
Red This Ever Website http://redthisever.net
Red This Ever MySpace http://www.myspace.com/redthisever
Red This Ever Facebook http://facebook.com/redthisever
Red This Ever Twitter http://twitter.com/redthisever
Red This Ever ReverbNation http://reverbnation.com/redthisever
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2011-01-07
 
Trubie Turner (Flexei)

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