Near Death Experience – Religion (2021)

With a reputation for energetic and engaging live performances, the UK-based group Near Death Experience (NDX) easily captivates their audiences. Of course, not all people can go to gigs (particularly not during the Covid-19 pandemic), but we can all enjoy the enthusiasm of NDX from the comfort of our own homes. Following the release of their debut album Mouth To Mouth in 2019, NDX has gone from strength to strength with critical acclaim from Talk About Pop Music, BBC Introducing, Less Than 1000 Followers, Edgar Allen Poets, Music for the Misfits and many more. The latest addition to their well-received repertoire is the single ‘Religion’.

Combining elements of funk, rock, soul and blues, Near Death Experience brings old-school funkiness to contemporary society. Following their soothing single ‘Everything’ (read our review here), NDX adopts a more upbeat and energetic sound in ‘Religion’. By no means is the funky soul ignored, in fact, the foursome seems to have added another layer of funk to their music. I know I said funk a lot in this paragraph, but it’s really the only way to describe this new single.

I said previously that I could compare NDX to Wild Cherry, but I have to continue my belief that there is no comparison. In fact, NDX could have an advantage over Wild Cherry with their “twinge of psychedelia”. ‘Religion’ mixes dynamic guitars with a sensual sax and compelling drumming. The melodic arrangement not only exemplifies the kaleidoscopic core of NDX’s sound but also takes the listener on a heartfelt journey through the song. Well-placed crescendos see (or rather hear) guitar riffs morphing into catchy choruses, only to be followed by a dip allowing the full experience to wash over.

Steamy, brooking and groovy, ‘Religion’ is filled with jovial rhythm where “…singer Ian Whiteling preaches like an evangelical clergyman and demands, “I’m a believer, believe in me!”…” Yes, the robust tones of Whiteling have a certain demand to “believe in me”; however, it is the soothing sensuality that makes it more intoxicating than authoritative. The gruff tones meld beautifully with the gentle melody weaving a soul-stirring single in ‘Religion’. I have often said there are “feel” songs and “describe” songs, ‘Religion’ is definitely a “feel song” – you have to listen to it and feel the music to appreciate it.

In addition to their single, Near Death Experience released an official music video for ‘Religion’. Unfortunately, I was unable to view the video as it uses lighting effects and strobe-like patterns that can cause seizures in people with photosensitivity. Please watch at your own discretion.


For more from Near Death Experience check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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