NEVERSAID – Bond Over Blood EP

Neversaid’s 2021 EP ‘Getting Better’ was a very enjoyable affair. The material had the kind of energy and focus that showed a great professionalism for a young band barely out of the starting blocks, career wise. Between the skate punk-ish energies of ‘Single File’ and the alternative pop core of ‘Stick It Out’, it was clear that their influences came from two very different camps, but this blending of styles – complete with an occasional hardcore backing vocal – gave listeners something well rounded.

With only a couple of digital singles appearing over the next couple of years, the band risked being forgotten in the aftermath. With so much music vying for listeners’ attention, it can be harder than ever to maintain a profile in the world of streaming, but their 2024 EP ‘Bond Over Blood’ is very much the kind of release that will gain interest, both from extant fans and potential new ears. In the band’s own words, the release contains “some of the angriest songs [they’ve] ever written”, and this is particularly evident with set highlight ‘Fall Short’ opening with a particularly jagged riff where the more obvious pop punk elements are tempered by an almost post-punk angularity. Even when the main riff grabs a hold, the jagged pop punk elements are decidedly more aggressive thanks to a grinding bass sound and a vocal that feels far more pointed than before. Also, the vocal melody never seems to quite fit with the melody in hand, which further makes the arrangement feel even more uneasy – but in the best possible way. By the time the final bars are reached, the band actually make good on the hints of melodic hardcore that were teased on the previous EP. This is a very different Neversaid, but their deliberately affronting sound is arguably shares the work of a better and more distinctive band. It’s the sound of punk musicians in an angry free fall; emo-punk without a safety net, on a tune where massive riffs are set to rattle everyone. It’s a huge step forward for Neversaid in almost every regard.

Even angrier, the questionably titled ‘Bitchfit’ focuses around a pleasingly aggressive bass sound, and the band uses this and a brilliantly powerful drum line to launch into a grindy melodic hardcore workout that occasionally sounds like Propagandhi circa ‘Supporting Caste’. Armed with an expletive driven lyric and, latterly, a slow, heavy grind that eschews all of the band’s former pop punk influences, these two minutes are immense.

The old Neversaid are still here, though, and the ringing guitars and more melodic vocal at the heart of ‘No Father’ provides the link between the past and the present. The riffs adopt a perfect pop punk and emo blend, but are given a bigger send off thanks to a massive drum sound. The broader melodic strokes delivered via Logan Samuel’s vocal certainly reinforce more of the classic emo sound – ensuring this track will be a fan favourite – but for those already attracted to the heavier strains of this EP, bassist Koda Boyce adds a fierce bottom end throughout the number’s second half. Despite a bigger melody, this is still more about riffs than hooks; it takes a few plays before the chorus even registers, but in time, the track plays with the perfect balance of melody and aggression. Opting for something much closer to melodic punk, ‘Ghost’ blends jagged guitar riffs that sound like an angry Sum 41 with occasional nods to more of a skate oriented sound from the rhythm section. The musical blend results in the EP’s most accessible number, and a soaring melody driving the chorus really sells the band’s alternative rock edge, before taking a small sidestep into something a little punchier to facilitate an angrier vocal during a quirky middle eight. It’s easy to imagine that extant fans will consider this the release’s strongest and most accessible three minutes – and with good reason – but in some ways, its most impressive trait comes from the fact that it really shows off a band that can turn their hand, effortlessly, to whatever punk/emo style they choose. There’s nothing that links this with ‘Bitchfit’, stylistically speaking, and there’s not even an obvious connection to ‘Fall Short’, but that just makes this short release all the more interesting.

With tight riffs and a much bigger sound than before, Neversaid are now very clearly interested in giving their fans far more than a semi-nostalgic quality throughout ‘Bond Over Blood’. At their best, these songs are greater than a mere throwback. There’s plenty here that has enough power to take their variety of punk sounds forward, and when it’s actually allowed to pump through the noisier elements, a huge melodic heart is still there – and what’s more, it’s big enough to make them a potential festival favourite. Fans of the emo punk sound should definitely give this a listen, and with an enthusiastic ear. There’s something here with massive potential.

March 2024