Any casual listener could be forgiven for thinking that emo music is all doom and gloom, and inaccessible to anyone who can’t relate. An openly honest genre that more often than not discusses depression and suicidal thoughts, that has to sound miserable, right? California’s Super Whatevr seem to be on a mission to change that.
‘Never Nothing’, the band’s debut album, is a deeply personal exploration of singer Skyler McKee’s trouble with relationships and mental health, but presented through an upbeat sound. The album opens with a float-y instrumental track, entitled ‘Ah Oo Oh’, that gives a peaceful sense of security before the quaking bass tones of ‘Bloomfield’ kick in. There are hints of grunge woven throughout this raucous indie-rock affair, which manage to solidify the negative subject matter of an otherwise positive sounding song.
In fact, there’s hints of other genres scattered across ‘Never Nothing’ too. ‘For You’ and ‘Misquote’ are almost punk in nature, while ‘Why Do I Wonder Why’ incorporates some sunny ska over the chorus. This incorporation of various genres proves to be one of the more unique and enticing features of the album, as it leaves the listener on their toes. It becomes near impossible to predict which avenue Super Whatevr are going to throw this vehicle down next.
Final track ‘Loser’ is the highlight of the album, confidently wrapping it up with a six-minute, emo ribbon. The final minute of the track throws together all the emotions of the eleven songs before it, creating pure sonic chaos as McKee comes to terms with his own head.
Truly, Super Whatevr have crafted a special debut here. It sees them set a high bar for the future, one that could be tough to beat. What makes this album stand out is its eclectic mix of genres, which sounds fresh and exciting. To replicate that on a follow-up could tarnish what makes ‘Never Nothing’ so great.
‘Never Nothing’ by Super Whatevr is out now on Hopeless Records.
Words by Ben Mills (@BenMills28)