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Never Been

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For Against's ninth overall album follows hot on the heels of their eighth, a mere year separating Shade Side Sunny Side from Never Been. It's as good a sign as any that the previous album's reunion of bassist/lead figure Jeffrey Runnings and guitarist Harry Dingman III had put striking new life into the stalwart act, but the honest shock is the sheer power and emotion generated by Never Been. If Shade Side was an assured return to the power of the band's earliest days, Never Been might even be stronger yet, an album tracing an arc from the rich guitar sonics and portrayal of emotional brinksmanship that opens the album with "Sameness" to the shockingly powerful, desolate conclusion "You Fade." The latter instantly ranks as one of the band's best songs yet written and performed, Runnings' still strong, beautifully sad voice tracing the end of a personal connection over a slow, desolate and bass-led arrangement with Dingman's guitar textures hanging in the background like angry ghosts. Practically song for song in between, For Against hit a perfect string of performances that only rivals December for consistency, but crucially isn't just that album part two — in hearing how Runnings experiments with his voice on the harmonies on "Different Departures" or the dramatic blend of piano and guitar on "Antidote" or the slow, repeated conclusion "I'm the only one who knows" on "Of a Time," to name just three examples, is to hear a band that isn't simply interested in re-creation of the past. Whether it's the brisk, solid work of new drummer Nicholas Buller who has inspired the trio to new heights, or simply the result of the key partnership moving beyond the novelty of their reunion to fully embrace where they're at now, no complaints can be offered — For Against having gone from being seen as earnest U.K. post-punk copyists to having their own distinct place in the overall history of that music, the sense is one of perfect assurance in their abilities.


Formé(s) : 1984 à Lincoln, NE

Genre : Alternative

Années d’activité : '80s, '90s, '00s

Nebraska's lone dream pop entry, For Against initially consisted of bassist and vocalist Jeffrey Runnings, guitarist Harry Dingman, and drummer Greg Hill. Dingman and Hill left after 1988's December to form the Millions, and they were eventually replaced by Steven "Mave" Hinrichs and Paul Engelhard after another lineup failed to work out. (Dingman returned in the 2000s.) Since its inception, Runnings' band consistently produced a drifting yet distinctly rhythmic sound, soldiering through the myriad...
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Never Been, For Against
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