More than a decade after the release of his last record, Jim Neversink returns with an EP that is a powerful reminder that the Durban-born artist is one of the most singularly gifted musicians to have emerged from South Africa.
Titled No Wah-Wah, the recording presents five tracks that are among the most affecting and potent that he’s released in a nearly three decade career that began in Durban in the mid-90s and gathered force when he moved to Johannesburg in 2001 and began using the name Jim Neversink. The EP was recorded in 2023, in Johannesburg and Copenhagen where Neversink has been living since late 2009.
Songs like “Man’s Best Friend”, “Life” and “Walk Out Songs” – which gives the EP its title – reveal that Neversink’s ability to write vivid vignettes about outsider life has not diminished in the 13 years since the release of his last recording. That was 2010’s Skinny Girls Are Trouble which was produced in Johannesburg and New York by Richard Lloyd, former member of the legendary new wave/punk rock band Television.
Lines like “It’s morning time/But there are some who haven’t slept/God bless them” off “Life”, “There’s a man who plays guitar in a filthy harbour bar” off “Walk Out Songs” and “Dogs would rather stay behind/When I go out walking” off “Man’s Best Friend” carry the weight of literature and evoke images that are impossible to shake off and invite you to keep revisiting over and over again.
The inclusion of Jim Neversink’s affecting version of “Master Jack” recasts this South African classic – written by David Marks in the late 1960s – as a song for anyone shrugging off the dictates of others, here delivered with a Hank Marvin-inspired guitar solo that imprints the track’s melody in the listener’s mind with grace and beauty.
No Wah-Wah also features the instrumental “Dagga”, taken from the score Neversink wrote for Durban Poison, a crime/love story by South African film director Andrew Worsdale, that won Best South African Feature Film at the 34th Durban International Film Festival in July 2013.
In creating the EP, Jim Neversink returned to working with Matthew Fink, who produced Neversink’s 2005 self-titled solo debut album and its follow-up, 2008’s Shakey Is Good. Fink’s treatment of the songwriter’s vision is sensationally realised with a sound that envelops, anchors and drives the songs into the memory.
Jim Neversink comments on working with Matthew Fink
“I’ve worked with so many people, including some big names, but I’m happiest working with people who I groove with musically and personally, That’s why I always tend to go back to the ones I trust because I know they totally get me – which is why I’m delighted to be working with Matthew, Warrick (Poultney, on drums) and Loandi (Boersma, on bass) again.”
Matthew Fink comments on working with Jim Neversink
“My long standing creative relationship with Jim Neversink is kismet. I am a lightning conductor to ground his creative madness. Never to dilute, but rather direct and focus the chaos. I am taken by the social commentary in his lyrics and charmed by his musicality. We have a mutual creative respect where we both have free reign. The No Wah-Wah EP is testament that Jim Neversink is not of this world.”
Jim Neversink will perform a homecoming gig to launch No Wah-Wah at the Radium Beer Hall in Johannesburg on March 25th.
You can listen to No Wah-Wah HERE.
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