SPLENDID Magazine review

Review of Orphans, Misfits & Fragments

Q: What if Robert Fripp had walked into the Garbage sessions instead of Butch Vig's Drew Carey Show-type buddies?

A: We'd have music like King Never's. A meticulous creator of suggestive systems of guitar loops, Matt McCrabe [sic] has been exploring the multiple possibilities of heavy electronic processing and repetition since the mid-nineties, much in the spirit of eighties partial namesake King Crimson, but this is the first proper full-length release by his King Never project (the name comes from Dostoievsky's [sic] Crime and Punishment). You can tell it's a cherished project from all the attention and care he put into crafting these songs, built upon dense layers of atmospheric noise, pastoral washes of alien synth effects and fragile soundscape epiphanies -- an approach that bears a strong resemblance to the Frippertronic technique, especially on "Endloop II", one of the disc's many instrumental tracks. Unlike the mighty Crimso, King Never chooses to put this sonic experimentation at the service of pop-songwriting, resulting in strangely appealing avant-alternative rock that sometimes comes close to shoegaze's otherworldly textures. The addictive and surreal "Upside Down Girl" and the dreamy, poetic "Monday" (with vocals by McCabe's wife Kristy) showcase the band's strengths. However, it's hard not to feel as if these achievements have arrived many, many years too late. It's a shame, as they would have made the alternative mid-nineties a much more pleasant era.

- Marco Rivera (Splendid Magazine)