Catch Will Schube posted up at the Rainbow Room next to Lemmy.
Supergroups fail more often than they succeed. This rule transcends form. For every ’08 Celtics squad, you get an ’04 Lakers. Each CSNY breeds ten Hollywood Vampires. So forgive me for being skeptical when, about seven years ago, Doseone began murmuring about a group with Mr. Bungle/Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and Tunde Adebimpe from TV On The Radio. It seemed like it would produce three musicians awkwardly ceding comfort for something new. Prospects of good music—or, music at all—didn’t seem promising.
Fast forward past the interminable wait from announcement to actualization and here we are with an actual song. “Tough Towns” (the first single) isn’t a one-off joint, either. The group’s got a record label (two, actually—Patton’s own Ipecac in addition to Lex Records) and a release date. Album art too. Of course, this wouldn’t matter if the music wasn’t any good. Nevermen sounds like an actual band. Well, actually the project sounds like cLOUDDEAD chewed up and regurgitated by an acid rain storm. All bravado and swagger. Dose’s decades of rap experience paired with Tunde’s unimpeachable feel for gorgeous melody. And Mike Patton can do absolutely anything. Just check out his Wikipedia page. The list of side projects he’s involved with is longer than most folks’ whole bios.
Doseone’s snarling hiss is one of a kind. It’s a testament to both Adebimpe and Patton that they aren’t overshadowed on “Tough Towns.” His voice is a caricature. Both manipulator and manipulated. Malleability is for more than gold. Voices can’t go camouflage, but I wouldn’t want to be tasked with finding Dose in the bush.
Despite Dose’s pervasive aesthetic, this group works because he’s not the only one doing his thing. Adebimpe is an ace manipulator, able to turn his voice into a whirling orchestra with the press of a few looping pedals, Mike Patton has the biggest vocal range in rock music (this is a fact). On second thought, it’s a surprise Doseone isn’t overshadowed. Maybe three halves can equal one.
“Tough Towns,” moves from schoolyard chants of “Go Pittsburgh!” to light strokes of a Rhodes in the span of 30 seconds. These guys don’t care about logic. Just good sounds that work together. We get Dose quips followed by Tunde and Patton each trying out a half-rapped lilt. It’s a surprisingly sweet trick. Then comes the triumph. An absolute beast of a metallic chorus that soars on the back of Adebimpe’s infectious voice. There’s a serious edge to this song, a much needed change of pace from the TV On The Radio frontman who’s seen his main project fall into serious rock-lite territory.
So here it is. A rapper, an indie rock star, and a man without musical limits decide to make an album. Each is between the ages of 38 and 47. This sounds like the set-up for a bad joke, but Nevermen aren’t in it for novelty. The only cackles you hear are supplied by Doseone, always lurking somewhere. The only one unsurprised that he pulled this thing off.