Saturday, 22 March 2014

Review - Natives: Indoor War

     The debut album from Natives has been long waited for and highly anticipated for many fans – and the wait has been worthwhile. Previously called Not Advised, the band changed their name prior to releasing any song from their full-length debut, and the name change now makes perfect sense. ‘Natives’ is far better suited to a band clearly in touch with their musical roots, and who have produced something organic and unique.

     This appropriate name choice continues in the album title: Indoor War lyrically tells the story of internal conflict and emotional struggles, taking the listener on a journey through each track. The record opens with tracks like “This Island” and “Going In Alone” that sing of troubled and trapped feelings, indeed describing an internal war in the narrator’s mind. However, as the album progresses, things take a turn for the better, signalled by the delicate and more positive “L.O.V.E.”, as these earlier struggles continue to be acknowledged, but the narrator now choosing to fight back and overcome these past issues, with uplifting tracks such as “The Horizon” and “Ghost”. This is a story that many people will be able to relate to, and the lyrics remain open enough that they could be applicable to most people’s individual situations, while still capturing the emotional intensity.

     Musically, Natives have created a rather new and unique sound, and I struggle with whom to compare them to. Many tracks have an energetic and fun vibe to them, often contrasting with the lyrics. It’s a radio-friendly rock sound, that should entice many new fans, and there’s also a summery feel to the record that will have me playing it a lot over the coming months. There’s also a sense of unity to the record, both lyrically and musically, giving it an overall coherence and completeness in its story.

     However, Natives have not just released one album, but two. Those who bought the record through Pledge Music receive an additional CD, the complete Egypt Lane remix of the album. Here, the same songs have been re-recorded entirely differently, and the band really shows off their musical versatility and willingness to experiment with different sounds. While, overall, I prefer the original versions, the Egypt Lane is definitely worth a listen too.


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