The Roots x A-Trak Perform “Never” f. Patty Crash Live on The Tonight Show

Eddie "STATS" Imported from Detroit.

The Roots x A-Trak perform "Never" live on The Tonight Show

The Roots put the ghostly stamp down on late night TV last night, performing their epic spook-out track “Never” on The Tonight Show, with a little help from DJ A-Trak and the Metropolis String Ensemble and featuring the truly haunting vocals of Patty Crash. The track has already garnered numerous (and totally valid) Portishead comparisons, what with Questlove‘s cymbals crashing dramatically on the maliciously slow beat and the hook nailed down by Patty’s little-witch-girl croon. But I venture to say Patty could give Beth Gibbons a run for her money in a witch-fight and if anything, the existentialist subtext of “Never”‘s lyrics–“Street dreams, close your eyes / Say goodbye to my memory /Street dreams, this is the moment that feels like forever…They say time flies / Down from sky and says never / I look down… all I see is never” –take it out of the realm of ‘spooky’ and into a realm of ‘boldly looking into the eyes of the ultimate darkness’ wherein even Portisheads might fear to tread. Even more striking is that having the ultimate bullhorn for live music in the form of Jimmy Fallon‘s 11-plus million potential viewers, The Roots do not hesitate for a second to stretch out and get weird on the track, lingering over the interludes of atmospheric percussion, pizzicato string plucks from and subtle strains of scary-movie dissonance. And then there’s Black Thought, delivering the already-infamous opening bars of …and then you shoot your cousin: “I was born faceless in an oasis / People disappear here and leave no traces…” Thought’s voice has an odd calming effect on the track, like the voice of your captain speaking over the intercom, letting you know you’re in experienced hands as he confidently noses this plane down into the abyss. Watch below and hit the links to cop …and then you shoot your cousin:

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