Ah yes, the Canadian soft spot strikes again, and this time it’s a double soft spot because we’re talking about a female-fronted hard rock band that shines an angry and fed up light on feminist issues in their new album. Being their third studio album, Neverfriend has obviously shown evolution as a band and are definitely going in the right direction, but some refining could be brought to a few aspects of their more recent work.
Strong Like a Girl bubbled up that female rage inside of me, with lyrics like “the beast has woken” and “my strength sets me free.” However even with this solid message to convey, musically speaking there seems to be a bit of lacking in certain originality departments. The track titled “Resolve” starts out almost identical to “Waiting Room” by Fugazi, and while Neverfriend’s version is unique to them, it just makes me want to go listen to Fugazi instead to cure my craving of skater groove rock. Along with this similarity, the vocal timing fights the groove felt by the bouncy chord progression; vocals are fast and slightly aggressive while chord progression and original tempo set at the start of the song go against each other. The same thing shows its face on “Monster” as well. That is where there can be a little dissonance, but that doesn’t mean singer Gina doesn’t do justice to her skills as a vocalist on other tracks. With some opera training, she’s obviously got a great voice to work with, giving me the most intense Gwen Stefani No Doubt feels, but the twang has to be kept under control, or else there’s a risk of sounding like a viral vine video about a country boy.
“Addicted to Anger” and “All Talk No Action” sound very well rounded, with powerful vocals (what I believe is Gina’s greatest strength), and “Creeper” which is one of the more captivating songs. Maybe it helps to listen to this tune while wearing creepers too, but this one’s definitely got my heart with a more punk feel, and while I feel there are also some conflicting areas (in the relationship between backup vocals and lead vocals), the overall tone is more interesting than other tracks.
Overall, all tracks have good movement without any dull moments, a good rockabilly feel and feminine strength, but improvements can definitely be made to bring a more interesting aspect to the groove in this album, especially with more cowbell. Everyone loves cowbell.
Written by Talia Plante
*edited by Mike Milito