On the debut full-length album from Never Loved, the band is able to channel their rich plethora of influences directly back into an ear-pleasing effort. The studio album entitled Over It, was produced by veteran hit-maker Matt Squire (All Time Low, Taking Back Sunday) and Squire is able to get the best out of the three-piece South Florida band. The band is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Cameron Knopp, bassist Jay Gayoso, and guitarist Shane O’Brien, all of whom are able to pull on each of their strengths as musicians to create a worthy debut focused on the mess that gets thrown our way and still finding a clear path forward to get through it all.
The album is built around the strength of the lead single, “On & On It Goes,” that was co-written by All-American Rejects’ Nick Wheeler, and the track itself rallies around the stomping chorus. It’s on the hook that Knopp confesses “On and on it goes / It never gets better / I don’t wanna know / If it gets better / And everytime I try / I always end up bitter.” The song has a steady bounce to it, and Squire is able to capture the energy of Never Loved perfectly on this performance.
The band tinkers with heavier guitar tones on songs like “Sorry” and “Sunshine,” where they admit to their past mistakes in the lyrics, but still keep a steady eye forward on things improving in the near future. On “Sunshine,” they are able to blend electronica elements by blending the heavier guitars with synths in a way similar to Bring Me the Horizon’s latest effort. Other earlier tracks like “Hope I’m…Ok!” are perfect pop-punk bliss that tackle serious issues like improving our mental health. It’s commendable for a young band to try so many different sounds on their debut record to experiment with they feel will work best for the longevity of the band’s artistic freedom.
My personal favorite from the set comes in the form of the ballad, “Autumn.” Knopp and O’Brien’s chemistry on the dual-guitar attack allows for the song to breathe a little bit, and showcase the improved songwriting from the band’s first EP. On the chorus, Knopp pours his heart out as he sings, “You’re the fire of my life / And it’s hard when you’re not here / Why did you have to disappear?”
Never Loved remains consistent throughout the record by not allowing the darker lyrical material to outweigh their message that things can, and will get better. This is more apparent on songs like “The One For Me,” that rocks like a Motion City Soundtrack type of track with a little bit of 80’s pop flair. On the chorus Knopp sings, “Take me / Yeah, I’ve been waiting all along / And save me / From writing just another song / You are the one always on my mind,” and it becomes more evident that he needs this particular relationship to succeed in order to find purpose in his songwriting craft.
The closing one-two punch of “Find Out” and “Downpour” round out the wide breadth of sounds that Never Loved went for on this debut. With so much going in their favor on this album, it’s only a matter of time before more fans catch on to this record and make it a regular part of their listening rotation. With the right tour placement, Never Loved could be one of those bands that steals the show with their affinity for catchy hooks, great guitar breakdowns, and meaningful lyrics. The record may be called Over It, but with songs as well thought as these, Never Loved will find a way to stay with us for quite some time.