Written by Maria Arroyo
The alternative rock outfit, The Neverlutionaries, are sharing their newest self-titled debut LP album. Leading this alternative rock and shoegaze-inspired sound is multi-instrumentalist songwriter, Christopher Harold Wells. Other moving parts include collaborations with regulars at San Fran’s Hyde Street Studios (home of recordings for the Grateful Dead, Santana, and Creedence Clearwater Revival) like Chris McGrew (Pamela Parker’s Fantastic Machine), Kenny Olson (Sheryl Crow, Bootsy Collins), Jonnie Axtell, and even #1 Billboard charting producer, Jaimeson Durr (Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani).
“The only parameter that I set for myself is that, at some point in the process, I got to get some kind of goosebumps,” Wells explained. “That’s like the cosmos’ way of letting you know you’re onto something. The longer you write, the more you kind of dial yourself in and hopefully come into what your sound is to be, but with my sound, there are so many parts that make it up because I dig a lot of different kinds of music.”
The opening track, “Ticking Away,” immediately pulls us in with the iconic psychedelic and alternative rock sound that immediately makes the listener feel alive. Wells shares that this song is an “ode to people who hate other people because of who and what they are,” and that “as the time of that mindset is running out, there’s a new movement of positivity as the Age of Enlightenment is upon us.”
The next track, “Ariana,” is a song filled with such intense energy and movement that it makes it unforgettable. Wells shares that his use of “delayed trippy guitars” is fully inspired by his love of shoegaze music. Wells shares that he wants to capture how one would feel meeting their soulmate, and says that “Ariana” is all about capturing that concept of dream love.
Wells describes his next track, “Hopped Up On Crazy,” with the phrase “it’s the God and the Devil thing.” The track, “Hopped Up On Crazy,” has a ton of energy that does a great job of mixing classic rock with modern influences that make the track relatable and inviting.
The next song on the record, “As It Burns,” is another energetic and explosive song with a ton of great instrumentation that keeps the listener engaged from beginning to end.
“Everybody’s Losing Their Minds” is Wells paying homage to the genre that has hugely influenced his entire life: funk. There are so many incredible guitar riff and sick solos that make you wish you were at a rock concert right now!
The next track, “Precious Eyes,” is moving and captivating, and even more so because of the driving force behind it. Wells shares that this track is about his friend who took her life. “I was really thinking about her a lot because she was so wonderful and seemed happy that I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I started writing the music and the words just wrote themselves. It was a spiritual and healing experience for me.”
Wells also had his friend, Nick Baglio, help with the drum section to which he added his “special stamp on this one.”
Another emotionally involved track is “Save Yourself,” which talks about a friend of Wells who was suffering from substance abuse. “He was always telling me what to do even though he was in a way heavier and darker place. He was really just trying to save me but I didn’t understand.”
“Stardusted” is a great staple for the self-titled album because there is just so much fun, energy, and good vibes all wrapped into one great song. It takes pleasure in exploiting the not so serious relationships, the ones where Wells shares that “love isn’t a requirement; it’s all about the fire, passion and the oneness that occasionally occurs. The stardust is that feeling personified.” The energy he creates in this song is catchy and infectious, and the sexual nature of the song just adds another side to his already broad tacklings as a musician.
Another favorite of the album is “Unconditionally.” The soft and crispness of his tone mixed with different washy and ambient elements create a ton of emotion that I grew incredibly attached to. Wells shares that this song is about “someone who understands someone else’s plight and wants to rescue them because they can’t save themselves,” which was originally written to get on the good side of some pretty lady at a party, but nonetheless, an impressively moving song.
Starring as his the first song that he ever wrote on the piano is “Stumble.” “They have this beautiful piano at Hyde Street Studio C,” Wells shares. “and it plays so well that it practically plays itself. The day we tracked it, I was a bit melancholy as I just lost a dear friend the day before. We turned the studio lights down for some ambulance – I mean ambiance – and I tried to channel my pain into that take.” This is another highlight for the album as it showcases a more acoustically and emotionally rooted idea that blossoms into a beautiful recording.
Their final song, “Ellis Stress Stomp (Bonus Track),” has the most unique story of them yet. “One day while walking to Hyde Street to do some work on the record, laying on the sidewalk was this beautiful girl. I wondered how in the hell did it get to this? She was very haggard and obviously on a lot of something but she had this slight look of hope and peace about her that was beyond her buzz. When I got to the studio, I couldn’t shake her out of my mind. I see that kind of stuff all the time in the city but she had this look in her eyes. Once in the studio, my dear friend, drummer, and cohort Chris McGrew cued up this killer groove that he’d been working on. It sounded like the city. It sounded like her. After the first playback and feeling the definitive power and sultry groove of the track, I cut my vocal relatively quickly.”
The Neverlutionaries has cultivated a beautiful arrangement of music that can appeal and relate to a lot of different people. “Write what is in your heart and stay true to who you are,” Wells concluded. “I’m not singing from my ego as I once did. Music is very sacred to me and I feel you have to honor it by letting it come from a real place inside of you.”
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