As difficult as it may be to pigeon hole alternative outfit The Never Ending, there is one thing their debut EP One tells us for certain – this is not a Disney-bred band. Sure, it’s fronted by actress Debby Ryan, who stars in the Disney Channel show Jessie, but the mellow and intuitive sounds they showcase are a far cry from the pop princesses that often find fame during their Disney stints. And, just to emphasize this point, The Never Ending released this EP in 2014 completely independently. There’s not a hint of Disney in site within this five track EP, and that makes it pretty noteworthy in itself.
Opening with lead single “Mulholland Drive,” Ryan’s smoky and soft vocals greet you with a soft, acoustic backing. With the message of the song circulating around the fact that, “All the wrong can’t hide the light, just like the dark can’t hide the light,” it feels like a soulful reflection about the meaning of life and fame overlooking the lights of Hollywood. This song is subtle and does not demand attention. There are no soaring vocals or catchy guitar rifts, but the gentle weaving between the lyrics and Ryan’s delivery make it a beautiful gem, depicting the realities of Hollywood and showcasing how the band live within this this.
We are given plenty of attitude in “Ruthless,” and this tune carries a rock and 80’s vibe that will get you moving. It is alternative and quirky, and Ryan pushes the “girl power” element without making it obsessively pop (aka Disney). A cut to the vocals and later a classic guitar rift lifts this song, and it becomes somewhat of an anthem for any heartbroken hipster type who is determined to leave their ex behind.
“Before We Go Upstairs” is an acoustic exposition of the thought process that occurs when we are given advice and later fall into a moment when we put this aside. Soft, velvety and warm, there is a lot of repetition within the lyrics, and this is the perfect song to chill to. The band’s rock roots come back in “Call Me Up,” and electric guitar and drums make this the stand-out tune on the EP. Catchy and just poppy enough to get you hooked on the melody, the balance between Ryan’s vocals and the instrumentation is at it’s best as she sings, “Keep your hands off me, I’m not your beauty queen.”
Finishing with the whimsical and hypnotizing “When The Dark Falls,” this tune about insomnia and the battle that occurs within our minds at night is beautifully played out. The instrumentation is unique, possibly with hints of a mandolin, and it will lull you into that space between reality and your dreams.
The Never Ending is unique and understated. Clearly musicians with a message to share with the world, the five tracks on their debut One are bold and distinctive, and very clearly a product of their personal journey through La La Land. Don’t get this if you want perfect Disney pop songs. Do get this if you want to hear tunes that will inspire and cultivate your creativity while you study in a coffee shop.