Visit Spotify and look up “Never2Late” and you’ll come up against a challenge. Not counting artist names in which there are spaces between the words, and not including variants like Never2Late2Sing, Never 2 Late Crew and Mr. Never 2 Late, you’re still faced with no less than five musical acts calling themselves Never2Late. This artist is one of those.
The music for review didn’t come with a one-sheet, so it was left to me to do a bit of digging to glean background information. Incongruously, a site focusing on orthopaedic products (!?) provided my first clue: Never2Late features guitarist and singer Steve Bollen. Dr. Bollen is a sports surgeon in Bradford, Yorkshire with more than 16,000 operations to his credit. The other core member is also called Steve; the group has been around for a decade or so, and got its start as do most bands: playing covers.
More relevant to this review, however, is the fact that Never2Late have released a 2015 album, It’s Hell in Happy Town, as well as EPs in 2018, 202 and 2022. A quick survey of the group’s previous releases is highlighted by “You’re My Rock,” a melodic and catchy midtempo original included on the 202 EP, New Beginnings.
And now comes “Love is Wise,” a single released in late October. A rock-solid drum figure and some nicely crunchy guitar work introduce the tune. The lyrics explores questions about why humanity fights “for a piece of land,” a question of particular resonance against the backdrop of current event in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (but with timeless relevance). “Politics and religion have a lot to answer for,” the song wisely observes.
Spotlighting a problem without offering some sort of solution isn’t a a particularly productive strategy, and Never2Late understand this. Their solution to the problem is a simple and straightforward one: love. A found-sound spoken-word midsection works well on this studio recording; it remains to be seen how that bit would be executed live onstage.
Classic rock arrangement values are wrapped around this tune, placing the guardedly hopeful lyric in the context of an accessible melody. Nice stuff that invites further investigation of this group.