FULL DISCLOSURE: I have been friends with Chris Buckridge since High School
Chris Buckridge is one busy mofo. In the last couple years, he has toured with his band, the Ne’er Do Evers, with the band Balthrop, Alabama (recently actually traveling from New York to Alabama), he has played with several other bands, and his recorded output has been rather prolific these days. Balthrop, Alabama has released 2 albums and 3 Eps (Read my review of two of those EPs HERE and HERE. In 2005, Chris released a solo EP called Vessels, and in 2007, the Ne’er Do Evers released Idiot Garden. (You can read my reviews of those two works HERE..
Which brings us to the Ne’er Do Evers’ latest album, 100% Wrong. 100% Wrong finds The Ne’ers at a more mature, more confident place than their previous album. Sure, their influences can still be heard, but the band sounds more original, more like a band that knows where it fits in the musical miasma of rock.
The album opens with “Lhasa Apso,” a song that sounds like the overture to the larger work. After 2 minutes-plus of instrumental rocking out, Buckridge begins singing of a narrator hoping to hook up with a girl he secretly longs for.
The next song, “Who Forgot You” sounds a little like Nirvana, or like the Meat Puppets post-Nirvana Unplugged. This track, and “Ditch,” the 8th track, sound the most like the Ne’er Do Evers from the Idiot Garden era, though “Who Forgot You” is much more angst-ridden than “Ditch.”
“Matt1” marks a change of pace for the Ne’ers, with Matt Moon supplying vocals (and songwriting). Hopefully, this won’t be the last time, either.
“Choose Your Own Adventure” acts as an interlude to the album, though I doubt you’ll walk away to go get a beer. If 100% Wrong were a movie soundtrack, this song would be the theme for a chase scene.
The highlights are “Closing the Coffin,” an ode to a long, misspent summer, “Downtime,” a dark bluesy song where asks “Can I come over and tuck you in?” and promises that if you “show me your tail, then I’ll show you my fin,” and “Floory Anna,” another of what I like to call character songs, like “Into the Village (3-4 Times a Week)” form Buckridge’s solo effort, Vessels, where he describes another woman with an odd moniker. Another high point is the album’s climax, “Rat Rat Ratty Hole,” which would sound equally at home on this album or on …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead’s Source Tags and Codes. This last song slowly builds to it’s climactic, screaming end and really puts the whole album to bed.
All in all, this is the Ne’ers’ best work. Each song stands on its own, but the album is greater than the sum of its parts. 100% Wrong is available on End Up Records.