Skip to content

UNKLE – Never, Never, Land

I had a discussion with Steve Smith from Dirty Vegas recently about the progression of dance music, how it’s no longer just a DJ spinning records but the producer making original music. Although this trend seems to have become more prevalent in recent years with new software and hardware tools coming to market, it’s artists like UNKLE, Basement Jaxx, and Fatboy Slim that led the pack long ago before Native Instruments was a staple.

It was the first rendition of UNKLE, the team of James Lavelle and DJ Shadow, which made a mark on my brain and many others. That reputation for thinking music continues, hitting you right off the bat with the spoken word observation that life itself is a series changes, how we go through the ups and the downs, and the constant flux in how our personal sagas play out.


UNKLE has created more than a concept album. Never, Never, Land chronicles the world we’re living in today – the violence, the constant questioning of what’s really going on around us, our fear of the future, the need for unity and community – all blended with amazing artistic expression and orchestration, where scraps of brain tissue are made beautiful.

Although this album comes off of the Global Underground label, this isn’t an end-to-end party, dancefloor mix. The rhythms and beat-basting vibes are there, but in true UNKLE form, it’s the many, many layers of heart wrenching and intricate organics that make their music so compelling. The darkness of “Safe In Mind (Please take this gun from out my face)” is made even more eerie by the haunting vocals of Josh Homme. And musical history was made on “Reign” as former Stone Roses members Ian Brown on vocals and Mani on bass collaborate for the first time since the band broke up, making it a second appearance for Brown on an UNKLE project (the first one being “Be There”).

In the way Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing, David Holmes’ Bow Down To The Exit Sign, Portishead’s Dummy, or even UNKLE’s Psyence Fiction, Never, Never, Land is another brilliant addition to the list of timeless classics that will carry us back and forth, through those ups and downs in life.


Sign up to our newsletter and get updates to your mailbox