DEB NEVER – HOUSE ON WHEELS EP REVIEW

One of my favorite things in the world is randomly stumbling on new artists because of social media. If you know me, you would know I am weird as hell and will just search Twitter and Instagram for new music to look up. I happened to hear about Deb Never a couple of weeks ago after seeing Tommy Genesis mention her online. Right around this time, Brockhampton dropped their new album, which actually has a song featuring Deb. How random is it that two weeks after I randomly find about about Deb Never, she decides to drop a new EP? House of Wheels is the latest musical endeavor by the emo as hell beat-pop artist from the Pacific Northwest. Her lyrics and music style really do reflect where she is from; her lyrics are very grungey and punk sounding, and it is obvious she is seriously influenced by the biggest artists from her part of the country. Deb Never is bringing this punk attitude into the LA indie pop rock scene, and it is a cool and interesting departure from bubbly nature of this scene in recent years. House of Wheels is one of the most unique and alternative pieces of music I have heard this year, and it is not something you will want to be missing if you are a big music fan like me.

You don’t want me, I don’t want you. You don’t want to do things that I want to…

I bet you can tell what kind of music this is going to be by reading the very first lyrics of the EP above. ‘Ugly’ starts out with Deb’s dreamy voice singing over some faint piano chords, kind of sounding like some of that piano pop that was popular in the mid-2000s (Like Sarah Bareilles or Natalie Imbruglia). About 40 seconds into the track, the tempo picks up a bit, with a lowkey trap beat coming in. At this point, Deb switches up her flow a bit, transitioning into more of a rap-singing style to go along with the beat. The dreamy moaning ad-libs go along very well with the song as well. The best part of this track, in my opinion, is the ending. Towards the back of the track, a lo-fi and distorted grungey-sounding guitar riff kicks in that really adds to the emotion to the rest of the track. ‘Ugly’ is a very strong start to this EP. The next track, ‘Same,’ has a similar instrumental style and singing style, with Deb Never once again sing-rapping over a very low key pop-trap instrumental. The guitar riff of this track reminds me a lot of Lil Peep or Juice Wrld. I think it is really cool how Deb is incorporating these sounds that are traditionally hip hop into this super melancholy and low key indie rock sound.

Always say you’re out of time, or with someone. Always say you’re out of time, but I know you’re not…

It is actually pretty tough for me to pick a favorite song from this EP, because the whole thing is very good, but if I had to pick one ‘Out of Time’ would probably be my selection. This is the least modern sounding song of the track; on ‘Out of Time,’ Deb Never is definitely not trying to incorporate modern styles into the sounds she loves. This track definitely came right out of her roots from the Pacific Northwest. It is so sad and punk rock; it reminds me a lot of Sleater Kinney, another popular girl rock act from Washington. I would imagine Sleater Kinney is a very big influence on Deb Never, or at least this song. On ‘Out of Time,’ Deb Never is singing about a significant other that she can never seem to please. The person she is singing about is constantly leading her on and lying to her; she knows she can not make the person happy, but does not know how to change for the better. I really like this track, man; it is so punk rock and dope. ‘Swimming’ is probably the most “mainstream” sounding song of the EP; this does not really mean a lot, because nothing about this EP is normal, but it is definitely the closest thing to what is popular today. It is sort of a low key and more pop version of emo trap; once again I am getting major Juice Wrld vibes. ‘Swimming’ is does the best job of any track on this album of really marying the lo-fi grungey punk sound that Deb seems to love with today’s pop trap music. The last track of the EP, ‘DKWYWFM,’ is labeled as a demo, but it seems finished to me so I wonder what she would want to add to it. This track reminds me a lot of Kurt Vile; the guitar driven smooth pop rock of this track is very reminiscent of what was big in the indie scene during the early 2010s. This song is just as if not more melancholy as the rest of the project; the title of the track stands for “don’t know what you want from me,” and you can probably figure out the sentiment of the song from this fact. This song is very downtrodden sounding but also very dreamy sounding, which provides a nice juxtaposition with the lyrics. I think it is a great way to close out this EP.

Deb Never is embracing a retro sound that I think should be so popular in this day and age based on the attitude of most of the youth. She is taking the melodramatic and somber grunge/punk sound that stems from the state she is from (Washington) and making it accessible to the music listeners of today. I think it is really cool how she is able to mesh the indie-punk sound that she loves with modern-day sounds like beat pop and emo-trap. I can not wait to see what Deb Never puts out in the future; the only thing I did not love about this EP is that it is not longer. Stream Deb Never’s House on Wheels with the link below!

8.7/10

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