There’s plenty of mining the classic rock quary’s these days. Everyone with enough bandwidth and time can adopt an expertise in most bands’ catalogs in a matter of days, but it takes a true love of form to really shine. For the past several years Natural Child have found their personal nexus in a mix of country strung rock and ’70s smooth players. Think the crossroads of The Dead, The Allman’s and JJ Cale and you’re getting into the right territory, pop some Byrds in their Graham Parsons phase into the mix, but subtract a touch of twang and you’re getting there. They explode out of that box though with their own additions of psych melt and some real groove-ridin’ swagger that feels wholly their own. They’ve come far with Okey Dokey, and despite what might be one of their worst cover images to date (this is in light of the fact that they have an album that’s simply an ass by the way) this stands as their most mature and serious feeling album to date.
The band always mixed the smooth delivery with a bit of winky humor, calling to mind late ’90s stalwarts The Tyde (who are back this year, hey Tyde) but now they seem to stow a few of the winks for a dichotomy that blends their tequila sunrise sounds with lyrics that feel paranoid, anxious and well, okay still a little flecked with levity to be honest, but that levity seems to be masking their unease. Its as if they’ve written music to act as the salve to their own jitters – a salve built on the soothing sounds of lightly marbled guitar and a shuffle of drum n’ groove. They do stray from their smoothe palette from time to time. On the title track and “It’s A Shame My Store Isn’t Open” the psychedelics seem to get the better of them and that “ease on down the road feeling” goes a bit sour, with the paranoia winning out handily. For the most part though, Natural Child will help you get through with a cracked smile and a drink in hand. They know that life’s blues are bearable, but not always wearable.
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