The list of people that Mike Patton has collaborated with over the years is as long as it is diverse. Not so diverse however, that any of the co-conspirators were a surprise, be they Dan the Automator, Melt Banana, Rahzel or untold others.
So when the Nevermen album was announced, featuring Patton, Anticon founder Adam ‘Deosone’ Drucker and Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio, I’ll admit I was a bit taken aback. With what little I knew of TV on the Radio and the even less I had heard from the band, it seemed like an odd choice.
I had more than enough time to do some research until the album came out, so I did some digging and found that not only had I erred in assuming this was a mismatch, I was ashamed that I wasn’t more familiar with Adebimpe and his works like the entire Return To Cookie Mountain album. Had I not been so ignorant, I would have wished for this collaboration years ago.
Frequently, finding adequate descriptives for an Ipecac release is a challenge for a mono-syllabic literate wannabe such as myself. Hip/Trip hop would certainly apply but with wonderfully clean vocals from the trio, it almost takes it out of that running.You have a kind of base/acid amalgam that works beautifully together, but sounds like it would work separately as both acapella and post-apocalyptic instrumental. Acapacalypic, if you will.
The song “Tough Towns” was released as the first single before the album’s release and is indeed on of the album’s highlights, but opener “Dark Ear” is a better indication of what to expect from the album as a whole. Nevermen is meant to be a leaderless group of equals and it sounds like it. There’s a lightness to this whole affair that hasn’t been heard from Patton since 2001’s Lovage album. This is not background music. This is headphones music. This is an album and deserves to treated as such. As a whole. Start-to-finish. Not a popular concept in 2016, I know but well worth the time and effort.
As with most Ipecac releases, the packaging is a work of art, with said artwork provided by Turner prizewinning artist Keith Tyson. Please, if this humble review has had any kind of impact and somehow miraculously convinced you to not illegally download something and actually pay money, I beg of you - go the extra mile and buy the CD or LP and see what music released by people that gives a shit looks like, smells like and sounds like.
7.7 / 10
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