Ireland’s Drop D - The Rough Guide To Native
If like me you’ve been excitedly following the recently resurgent musical genre usually classified as “TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME” you’ll no doubt have heard the name or read the words Sargent House. The American independent label is home to such acts as The Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, Fucking Hella, Russian Fucking Circles, RXFucking Bandits, This Fucking Town Needs Guns, B-Fucking-oris, Fang Fucking Island and one of their most recent signings? A little known Irish dreampop trio … I think they’re called the Adebisis or something like that.
But one of the biggest fucking deals on the Sargent House roster right now is Native (you may notice this write up/review is kind of laced with four letter words, but after you’ve gone and listened to Native’s back catalogue so far I think you’ll understand). Formed from the ashes of two other bands in Valparaiso, Indiana in 2007 the band quickly set about to writing some of the most ball-grabbingly brilliant songs to come out of the American punk underground; they’ve pretty much been on tour ever since. Boasting a median age that will send most other working bands into fits of frustration at their own lack of progress, the band have toured all over the United States and Canada and rumours are abounding of a UK (hopefully encompassing Ireland) and European tour this summer. Native’s blend of a beefy yet agile rhythm section, intricate but visceral guitar work and lyrics laced with expert wordsmanship calls to mind Dischord greats Q and Not U and FUGAZI, both of whom the band collectively count as major influences. One could go on and on about how great Native are, but instead I’m going to talk about how their music does the talking for them.
We Delete; erase. (2008)
Independently released in the summer of 2008 shortly before being picked up bySargent House, Native’s debut release wears its DIY roots on its sleeve as far as the production values go but the quality of song writing is shown to have been present since the bands earliest days. Available now here from Native’s bandcamp We Delete; erase is as strong a debut as a band could hope for. Building ominously from the opening, Alpacastan eventually erupts into an all out riffology that will leave you begging for more. Once the song gets to its shouted bridge of “if 3rd time’s the charm/then why not the 4th?” you know that Native have arrived. The single criticism of this EP comes in the form of the second trackFlaschdance … it builds nicely for 2 minutes and brazenly proceeds to go nowhere; I suspect that because of the DIY nature of the EP’s recording that the open ending of the track was meant to segway into the centrepiece track What Are You Dylan in My House?but due to a tracking glitch there hangs a second or two of dead air leading most first time listeners to check their mp3s to see if their battery has died. Aural glitches aside, from the aforementioned …Dylan … through to closing track Hey Mon, Hook Me Up ‘Do, We Delete; erase proves itself to be a powerful and assured work which rewards the ears with repeated listening. This reward is occasionally in the form of the beautiful interplay of the musical and lyrical dynamics and on other occasions, as a marker of how much progress it is possible for a band to make in under 24 months considering what was to come …
Drop – D rating: 8.2/10.
For fans of: Q and Not U, Don Caballero, Minus the Bear, Adebisi Shank, FUGAZI, Enemies, Rival Schools, We Come in Pieces.
Wrestling Moves (2010).
Where to start? This album is good … really fucking good … you know how I know? Because the right idiots at the right sources hate it for the same pedestrian reasons they feel compelled to lionise something even if it’s relentlessly fucking mediocre. One of the most important albums of the post – hardcore genre in the last 15 years, possibly ever,Wrestling Moves simply dominates the listener from first to last. In this statement comes the only minor criticism of the album: it is an all – out set piece; listening to individual tracks out of context may leave the listener a little unsure as to what the fuss is about, but in recognising what has gone before and what is to follow in the context of an album, Wrestling Moves shows itself to be a stellar work. As a work Wrestling Moves shows the promise of Steady Diet of Nothing, The Shape of Punk to Come and Relationship of Command in terms of documenting a certain era of Punk/Post-Hardcore. Opening with the ominous and epic Backseat Crew, Native find their stride by never quite having one. Second track “Legoland” opens all Don Caballero but pretty soon its’ almost as if the Indiana Natives (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) are challenging Texas post-rockers Explosions in the Sky for the epic ethereal riff crown (on display here). After the opening salvo Wrestling Moves pauses for breath on “Mason Jars” which quickly gives way to the bombastic heft of Ponyboy, combining breakneck tempos with some seriously danceable grooves. The Album’s middle section keeps the high standard of songs ticking over, blending inventive guitar interplay while showing that the band has no fear of restraint when necessary. It is the final four tracks, however, that hammer home just what a classic Wrestling Moves is destined to be. Pocket Jingle blends seamlessly into “the hardest song to write on the album” Members List, a song whose emotional resonance rings clearer with each successive listen. The closing suite of the album is the combination ofMarco Polo, a near 5 minute build-up of tension before its eruption into distorted vocals, giving way to the inspired closer Wrestling Moves. A statement of absolute intent from beginning to end, Wrestling Moves is a work which demands a place in the record collection and media library of any self respecting fan of post – hardcore, math – rock and just about any classification of loud, distorted, impassioned and inventive music. Drop-d Rating: 9.4/10.