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First Play: Liam Corcoran, Nevahland

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Holly Gordon

“Come on people, places please.”

The line in “About Time,” the fifth track on Liam Corcoran’s debut full-length album, slides out from the middle of Nevahland like a friendly notice. It may simply be the former Two Hours Traffic frontman putting his album’s characters on alert, but it sounds like it’s for all of us: four years after the P.E.I. group disbanded and two after Corcoran’s debut EP, he is ready for his full-length solo debut.

Corcoran has written a storyline to connect the songs on Nevahland that is a little more The Good Place than it is Peter Pan: “As an imminent disaster threatens their small community, a mysterious man claiming to be a priest rolls into their lives,” details the press release. “Under the chaotic circumstances of evacuation, the couples follow the man as he promises to lead them to safety. Though they remain skeptical, it is clear to the group that they need to go somewhere. The record traces the harrowing trajectory of these characters as they prepare to leave the only home they've ever known, probably forever.”

Corcoran was road-testing some songs when the Nevahland story started to appear. “I wrote this song ‘Tick Tock’ with a batch of other songs, started playing them live, and that one, overwhelmingly, got the best response I’d probably gotten in years from a song,” he said in a Barbershop Session. “So I looked at that song and it had these characters in it, which I never really thought much about, but I started to build a bit of a story and used the input from the crowds I was playing for at the Trailside [Café in P.E.I.].”

While “Tick Tock” is the album’s sing-along standout — it’s easy to hear why the crowd latched onto it — Nevahland never really settles into tempos or genres. The opening track, “Never Ever,” is as ominous as it is hypnotic, and once you listen to “Out of This World 2,” it’ll feel like it’s been on your indie-rock playlist for decades. With guests on the album including Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!), Emilee Sorrey (Sorrey), Dan Griffin (Arkells, Teen Ravine) and Nathan Wiley, Nevahland is a solo album that feels like a family affair.

Dipped in Americana and anchored in story, Nevahland is a fitting debut.

Nevahland will be released Nov. 3. Pre-order it here.