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Articles Home » 1991 Articles » Neverland - 1991 Neverland
Neverland - 1991 Neverland

ARTIST: Neverland
ALBUM: Neverland
LABEL: Interscope
SERIAL: 7 91713-2
YEAR: 1991


LINEUP: Dean Ortega - lead vocals, percussion * Patrick Sugg - guitars, backing vocals * Gary Lee - bass, backing vocals * Scott Garrett - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Running On * 02 Cry All Night * 03 Take Me Higher * 04 Drinking Again * 05 10000 Years * 06 Lean On Me * 07 Mama Said * 08 My Opinion * 09 Time To Let Go * 10 Talking To You * 11 For The Love

Here's a band that skipped me by, and a few others it would seem. Neverland are deserving of a revisit considering this oft overlooked debut CD is a bit of a killer actually. After doing a bit of a read-up of this outfit, some idiots on the Heavy Harmonies website described these boys as a cross between House Of Lords and Giant. Never have worse lies been told lol! Formed in 1991, there's a gritty edge to Neverland. Melodic for sure, coupled with a huge Interscope production job, you can throw comparisons to the likes of Little Caesar, Enuff Znuff, Riverdogs, Burning Tree and probably at the very periphery.. a band like Tomorrows Child could be a contender too. The material is slightly to the right edge of typical AOR and melodic rock, Neverland aren't truly either of those sub-genres to be fair, because many other elements come into play. There are modern stylings, some flashbacks to Zep too, plus some symphonic aspects which could place this on the edge of progressive rock, so all in all it makes for a fascinating listen.

The Songs
Singer Dean Ortega really does have a wonderful set of pipes, and he excels here with both the songs and the production showcasing his talents. The lead-off song 'Running On' is not typical of the overall Neverland sound. It's slightly funky, a tad groovy with a chorus cut from same cloth as Tomorrows Child. Me like.. 'Cry All Night' initially hints at a Rolling Stones style, but thankfully never goes there. In fact Enuff Znuff is a much better fit. 'Take Me Higher' dabbles with an acoustic blues structure before loading up with some electrical ammo and an overall pumping direction that sounds fantastic. 'Drinking Again' might have a dodgy songtitle, but it's a big sounding slamdunker of a song that apparently was tied to the 'Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey' movie soundtrack, though the closing track 'For Love' appeared in the movie itself. One of my highlights is the gorgeous sweeping ballad '10,000 Years' with its orchestral layers and easy on the ear chorus. Not too far behind is the catchy and commercial 'Lean On Me', a few repeat plays will have you endeared to this song. 'Mama Said' is an emotional and impassioned rock ballad with some choice change-up moments. The orchestral angle that this track takes is very cool. 'My Opinion' bounces off the wall thanks to its fizzy nature, the acoustic/electric jangle drops into the backcourt of the Riverdogs. Even 'Time To Let Go' has a twangy country rock vibe, not unlike a roughed up version of Nelson. 'Talking To You' is a groove laden monster, with a massive wall of a chrous. The harmonica parts give it a bluesy side, but not overly so. The finale 'For The Love' is a Zep oriented excursion which is a fitting way to bow out.

In Summary
Neverland should appeal to melodic rockers and AORsters as this CD won't really blow you away with overwhelming power, but what it does have are cool arrangements, good musical performances from the band and a compelling production. A pity then that the band's 1996 follow-up 'Surreal World' is a load of old tosh and should justifiably be used as a coffee cup coaster. The band members have all moved onto different projects. Ortega became the voice of Tribe Of Gypsies and Revolution Child while Sugg and Garrett hooked with The Cult's Ian Astbury to form Holy Barbarians during 1996, before moving on and hooking up with Ahmet Zappa (son of Frank) to form SLEEPS9. Neverland are definitely worth checking out for something that sounds a little bit different to the norm.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on July 21 2011 08:14:55
This was a great album. Khalil Turk thought so too and signed the band after they'd been let go by Interscope, but sadly for him they had replaced the singer for the ensuing album and it was, as George says, a right load of old tosh.
#2 | Jez on July 29 2011 22:46:04
Got to this album long after it's original release, but damned glad I did, as it's a little belter. Highlight for me without a doubt is the aforementioned '10,000 Years' and 'Mama Said' both excellent and worth getting the album for alone.
#3 | swazi on April 07 2012 11:13:57
I only came across this CD in 2009 myself and was therefore rather late to hear it, same as Jez. And like him I am extremely glad that I eventually did. Great stuff!
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