The Naturals - Concrete Sea Single Review
In the age of the iTunes download, Soundcloud and any number of digitally enhanced mediums from which to select and purchase music, traditionalists could argue that the 45, or single as it's more commonly known, has succumbed to a post-millennial death. Of course such prophecies of gloom aren't strictly true. The underground independent scene has probably never been more vibrant since the halcyon era of punk rock when labels like New Hormones and Rough Trade sprung up out of nowhere, and while new technology allows a wider level of music to be consumed, its those prepared to take one innovative step further that will prosper and hopefully reap the rewards.
Which is where Bristolian four-piece The Naturals come in. Despite having formed in 2004 and spending the ensuing years trawling the south west supporting all and sundry, its only recently that their unique take on math structured rock with a shoegaze aesthetic has caught the eyes and ears of those outside the reaches of the Avon. While not making excuses for being proverbial latecomers to the party, its possibly to their advantage that they've been allowed to beaver away at their own pace, developing a style and sound all of their own doing.
While elements of their music will inevitably draw comparisons to the glitchy discordance of Foals or atmospheric reverb-laden likes of Ride and Chapterhouse, there's an unnerving presence about The Naturals, largely contained within Robin Stewart's cautionary vocal performance that accentuates their music far from the madding crowd of plagiarists and wannabes. Title track 'Concrete Sea' ebbs and flows from pillar to post, changing course and direction when least expected yet each time signifying an extra dimension to the band's musical palette. Flipside 'Finishing Moves' takes the dynamic to another arena entirely, proffering post-rock sensibilities from Explosions In The Sky's earnest back catalogue before channelling them through a uniquely English folk-orientated funnel.
The band describe their music as "making guitars sound like broken glass", which makes them sound as if they're bordering on the aggressive. We'd prefer to call The Naturals the sound that dreams make in the dark; all sweet, harmonious, and utterly beguiling.