For an artist to grow, they must accept the idea that change is not only inevitable, but essential. Wiping the board clean and finding a new way of doing thing is something that all performers must do from time to time in order to avoid complacency. Some resist this change, but others, like Never Shout Never’s main man Christofer Drew, embrace this elemental force and run with it. On his third album, Time Travel, Drew has altered the formula from the ground up, stepping away from the tried and true acoustic singer/songwriter formula in search of something bigger and newer, recording for the first time with a full band. Setting aside a successful formula is a gamble, but it’s one that pays off for the newly minted band, who take Drew’s lovelorn acoustic, emo pop musings into more expansive territories. While spacy is a sound one would never think to associate with Never Shout Never, this latest incarnation of the project achieves just that, filling the songs with layers of swirling synthesizers and reverb that give them a real sense of atmosphere, and showcase the transformative powers of collaboration. The sound is a little too polished to mistake the band for the Flaming Lips, but by emo standards, the album is downright psychedelic. This change might end up being divisive among fans who came to Never Shout Never for Drew’s sugary pop sensibility, but it’ll definitely cause anyone who was initially turned off by the band a reason to give them a second look.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney