Under Review

The Never

Antarctica (Trekky)

Review By Robin Hawkins

What is it with the recent faux concept album craze? First, Green Day made a vague social critique in a punk-opera, and sooner than you know it, even Vegas pretty boys The Killers are trying to pass off their latest as a concept album merely because it is somewhat cohesive. Oh, Tommy, where art thou?Well, finally the nerds have had their go at a concept album, and, not only do they nail the mark, they’ve practically reinvented the idea. With Antarctica, North Carolina indie-popsters, The Never, didn’t merely craft an album packed with musical, lyrical and thematic genius and creativity. They geeked the system: the entire album revolves around a beautifully illustrated storybook. Using the changing seasons as the template, the album sketches an epic coming-of-age story of environmental communion, unrequited love, and the susceptibility of innocence. What’s even more impressive? The Never pull off this massive feat without coming off the least bit pretentious.Sounding like a cross between Death Cab For Cutie and Sufjan Stevens, The Never display a wide variety of styles on Antarctica: ranging from the menacing organ brigade on “March of the Minions” to the pop grandeur of “Summer Girl/Old Man Winter.” This is one of the most refreshing albums in quite some time. Even if the music on Antarctica isn’t quite your cup o’ tea, one has to admire the grand ambition and poise displayed here.