Rising artist Deb Never may have left the Pacific Northwest for sunnier Los Angeles skies, but she certainly did not abandon the region's noted penchant for grunge. Rather, Never has transformed the constant overcast skies that have inspired, and continues to inspire, generations of artists to create prolific bodies of work into a newfound, genre-bending context.
Following two phenomenal singles, including her breakout track "Ugly," which proved that a summer anthem could deal with a toxic relationship without falling flat for a moment's notice, Never's debut EP House on Wheels arrives as a succinct, impressive showing of an artist thriving in a post-genre era.
Intertwining musical themes run as deep as the emotive lyrics present on House On Wheels. Balancing lo-fi hip-hop production with an overall punk-meets-rap aesthetic, every one of the EP's five tracks moves at an engrossing pace, even when Never takes a moment to explore the underlying, at-times overflowing melancholic elements bubbling just beneath the surface of her meticulously-crafted soundscapes.
Indeed, the way in which Never and House on Wheels marries it melancholic lyrical imagery with a host of infectious, varied production and instrumentation creates a 13-minute maelstrom you never quite want to pull yourself from. And by no means, this is a one-note affair. "Out of Time" is perhaps Never's most straight-forward attempt at Washington grunge, as she gives herself over to a deluge of lush, fuzzed-out electric guitars. Yet, "DKWYWFM - Demo" illustrates Never's ability to command a space with the simplest of elements, presenting a glimpse at an artist who could very well be an emo prodigy if she so wished.
Creating genuine, empathic music with an ethos that equally reveres her native Pacific Northwest's affinity for punk with a generation that has supposedly killed the music genre Never is an artist who could not exist in any other time but this exact moment. House on Wheels is a testament to that notion and a not to be overlooked contribution to this ever-evolving music landscape.
Listen to House on Wheels below: