BEST NEW INDIE: ALWAYS NEVER - NO GOOD
Toronto R&B duo Always Never Explore The Contradictions Of Desire on "No Good."
Sometimes we fall in love with the wrong people. We let our guard down and open up, only to discover you were being deceived, that the person you thought you knew and loved was not to be trusted. "Up to no good," as Always Never's Patrick & Dean sing on "No Good."
Bad boys and dangerous women will always have their appeal. Perhaps we think we can change them, or we fall in love with the thrill and danger of it all. There is something intimate in being legitimately at risk. We might fall in love, thinking our partner's going to open up our heart, only to have them open your jugular or your wallet instead.
Up-and-coming Toronto R&B duo Always Never explore this intimate, vulnerable state with a moody, introspective blend of post-dubstep electronics and Weeknd-worth sultry R&B vocals.
The slightly ominous album cover lets us know there's more than meets the eye, however. The murky indigo cover shows someone standing with a butcher knife behind their back. The message is clear, but subtle. Trust no one, and always be careful. It's a bit bleak but good advice, nonetheless. Those we love have the greatest ability to hurt us. The danger and vulnerability is brilliantly emphasized in "No Good"'s contradictions.
A growling sub-bass sets the stage of "No Good," luminous and distant as purple hillsides at twilight. It brings to mind the emotional electronics of the last two James Blake records, with a similarly masterful blend of human heart and technical mastery. The neo-R&B vocals, with a similarly silken quality to The Weeknd's Abel Tesfaye, also hints at a similar detachment, exploring the seamy, intimate, raw moments of love, desire, and sexuality.
ALWAYS NEVER - NO GOOD
Always Never sound fresher and less resigned than The Weeknd, however. Tesfaye's sounded dipped in carbonite, with a heart covered in Kevlar, right from the very start. Always Never are the slightest bit more vulnerable, which also makes "No Good," a little bit more seductive. Aloofness is enticing, but vulnerability is hot as the surface of the sun.
Always Never's career stands to be just as hot. They've hardly released anything and already have 11K followers on Instagram. They've only released a handful of singles so far, but they're already releasing their own clothing line. Always Never are clearly ones to watch. You heard it here first at We Are: The Guard!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.