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Portrait of The NaturalSelection

The NaturalSelection

About The NaturalSelection

Denver, CO

Alright, stop whatever you’re doing right now. No. Seriously. Stop. Right now. Great, now that I have your attention, click here and give a listen to the Natural Selection, a new local act my boy Bitz turned me onto. Let’s see, there’s really no real delicate way to put this...on first listen, these kids fucking smash it -- This is the freshest shit I’ve heard in a while, particularly "15 Up to Colfax," which does a TV on the Radio flyby. -- Dave Herrera Westword: Backbeat Online ---------------------
The Natural Selection, a Rock-Funk-Pop outfit currently based in Denver, takes the name of their latest album, Lasers in the Jungle, from a Paul Simon lyric. The album on which the phrase appeared, Graceland, was highly influential and tremendously successful – two things that The Natural Selection has a very good chance at being if they play their cards right. As the traditional structure of the music industry disintegrates, it’s comforting (not to mention exciting) that people like Sam Glover and his cohorts are making music on their own terms, and with such thrilling results. One of the Lasers in the Jungle’s major strengths is its straightforwardness – a lack of pretense that is genuinely rare in today’s alternative scene, or what’s come to be collectively known as Indie. It almost seems inappropriate to call The Natural Selection “indie music,” although that’s what they are in the strictest sense – self-produced, promoted, and distributed, without financial support or guidance (artistic or otherwise) from a label. But unlike a lot of what’s going on out there in indie-land, the Natural Selection’s sound is actually deserving of the term “fresh” – and not just because it makes you want to shake your booty. The beating heart of the Natural Selection is when they’re in the groove, you can feel it right through the seat of your pants: stripped down to the bare necessities, it’s just you and the band. Part of this owes to the musicianship, which is consistently high caliber. But, just as crucially, it’s always in service of the songs; there isn’t an ounce of instrumental excess on the entirety of the album’s 30 minute running time. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear this kind of economy on a contemporary album, just as it’s nice to hear such consistently upbeat music. Lasers In The Jungle has plenty of funky inflection, but it’s essentially a pop album. This kind of approach has its pitfalls (such as repetitiveness) but the band is able to avoid them at every turn. Pretty much every song is danceable, but it’s the subtle variances in tone and mood, as well as rhythm, that make this album really fly. It’s got its share of four-on-the-floor drivers, songs like the “Paper Plane,” “Down Elevator” and “When It’s Over” that emphasize the rock in The Natural Selection’s genetic makeup. On the other side of the beat are tracks like the laid back and blissed-out “Go Go Go” – the most unabashedly bubblegum track on the album (and just as sticky) and “Only One,” a superlative horn-inflected shuffle that exhibits the closest thing to true funk-soul I’ve heard in a long, long time. Tracks like “15 Up To Colfax,” “In Our Programmed Dreams” and “The Spirit Of The Machine” highlight Glover’s behind-the-curtain skills (he produced all of the album’s ten tracks), with just the right mix of synth vamps on top of the drums, guitar, and bass. There’s a heavier texture to these songs, and they verge into the bittersweet side of the spectrum, albeit only slightly. It would be nice to see this element fleshed out – Glover doesn’t linger on the moodier aspects of the music as much as he could, but it’s entirely forgivable in light of Laser’s strict focus. Also worth noting is Glover’s voice, which seems here to both more confident and more comfortable than on The Natural Selection’s previous album, Shovels and Brushes. Perhaps the best thing about Lasers In The Jungle is the way it faces squarely into the future. Besides being a fully satisfying helping of tunes, it suggests the various directions that Glover and Co. could take their music in. Talent like this has a lot of resilience, and I suspect that any forthcoming explorations won’t lose sight of their secret ingredient: a truly unique melodic and rhythmic sensibility. But even more exciting than the prospect of additional music from these dudes is the thought of seeing them live. Every single song on Lasers In The Jungle has serious concert potential, and I say that with the authority of seeing previous shows – they are every bit the roof-raising live outfit that this album asserts. Lads, the world is ripe for your invasion – don’t let us down now. -ZACH TARAS bollywood


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Portrait of The NaturalSelection
The NaturalSelection