By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
It takes some guts to put out an alt. rock album these days. The genre is more closely associated with the inauthentic machismo of Nickelback than well-crafted, thought-provoking music. But that’s exactly the kind of record Dallas-based Neverblu created with their most recent release “Joshua.”
A concept album that flows well from song to song, “Joshua” tracks the progress of a soldier as he contemplates his actions and their affect on his family (“Please forgive me for the things that I have done/And please don’t let my karma get my son” lead singer Don Stalling implores on “Karma”). “Joshua” is tied together, both lyrically and musically, as Neverblu creates a compelling and emotional portrait of a man conflicted with a sense of duty to God, country and his loved ones.
There are some audible drawbacks with the record. As with most smaller releases, the composition on “Joshua” could be tighter. Stallings has trouble with his pitch at times, and his vocals rarely break from their plodding, somber tone (a notable exception is the melody-driven “Does it Feel Right?”).
That being said, Neverblu gets far more right on “Joshua” than they get wrong. While these Texas boys can clearly rock (Dustin Hendricks’s and Brian Dodson’s bass work is particularly impressive), Neverblu is most effective when they slow down. The album culminates in the title track, as the protagonist begs for someone to “tell my son I love him” before meeting his ill-timed fate.
Album highlights include “Wolf,” “Escaping God” and “Karma,” and the album contains enough meat to warrant multiple spins. “Joshua” doesn’t provide anything you haven’t heard before, but you’ll definitely what to hear it again.
Neverblu can be found on Facebook, and “Joshua” is available at the Greenville Hastings. For booking information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-948-7889.