Review: Natty – Change EP

Review: Natty – Change EP

Natty – Change EP
Track Listing
1.) Change
2.) You Don’t Know Me
3.) JJ (Don’t Go)
4.) SS I Love You

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: September 20th, 2011
Record Label: Atlantic Records
Official Website: Natty Website

Group Background:
Born to a family of African and British heritage, Natty began playing music at an early age, inspired by the sounds of his parents record collection, which included Neil Young, Fela Kuti and Bob Marley. After spending his teen years crafting hip hop beats for local MC’s, Natty left school and began working as a teaboy in a recording studio. Working his way up the ranks to engineer, eventually recording artists such as Queen, Mos Def and Razorlight. Natty used the free studio time to develop his own material and was eventually signed to Atlantic Records in 2007. His debut album, Man Like I, broke the TOP 20 in the UK.

Album Review:
Although British reggae-soul artist Natty is little known on our side of the Atlantic, his Change EP delicately beckons lovers of groove music from any nation, melding reggae, hip hop, and soul. Tasteful rhythms, sparkling production and thought-provoking lyrics dominate this jarring collection, which is hopefully a signal of direction for Natty’s future output.

Natty’s two strongest qualities, pensive songcraft and subtly attuned production, dominate the EP. These two elements do not stand separately, but complimentary, intertwined like serpentine strains of thought. Every single track, from funk-charged “JJ (Don’t Go)” to the precautionary protest of “Change,” utilizes the studio not simply to snap-shot, but instead to highlight, underline and embolden emotional dynamics and otherwise furtive elements streaming through the song-sphere.

Despite the heavy emotional output of this record –at once declarative, confessional and inflammatory – Natty is an artist with the rare ability to underscore his own emotional output not through intensity, but sublimity. In Hemingway fashion, Natty barely raises his voice, but still demands complete attention. None of his work is fragmentary or isolated; it is one whole, melding all elements necessary to produce a singular, cohesive voice that should extend far across the Atlantic Ocean.

Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro

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