EP Review: Silent Natives: Loosen Your Grip

‘While Silent Natives may have loosened their grip, their musicality is tighter than ever.’

Originally formed as Lamplight in 2004, Steve Jones (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Rich Jones (Bass Guitar) and Chris Kemsley (Drums) are back as Silent Natives. The arrival of the new name – which was first conceived in 2012 – also brings with it brand new tracks written by themselves and the production, recording and mixing skills of Mitch Ayling, (Drummer of The Milk). This new approach means that while there may only be four tracks, each one is as successful as the ones that precede it and with the combination of clever and memorable lyrics along with professional quality musicianship, it’s well worth giving up 20 minutes of your day.

The EP opens up with the title track ‘Loosen Your Grip’ which is unapologetically as far from the band’s previous outing as possible. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure on a first listen as it didn’t have the same sense of style as their early release ‘Circles.’ However, while distorted vocals, rock like drums and electronic sounds weren’t exactly what I was expecting, it works perfectly and makes you realise there’s every chance the band’s new name is meant to be ironic.

Moving on to Track 2, ‘Sunlight’ opens, rather appropriately, with a bright sounding acoustic guitar chord sequence and a vocal hook which after just one listen would appear to be an immediate earworm, ready to be whistled or hummed at your own convenience. The introduction of this track provides the perfect contrast to the opening one and with its relaxed feel and Fleetwood Mac influenced moments it’s a fantastic listen. For me though, the real draws of the track come from the transition between the pre-chorus and the chorus itself. Trust me, it will catch you out every time.

Reaching the penultimate track, ‘On The Run’ treats us to hearing Steve’s vocal with only the application of reverb. This is very welcome as it gives a musical warmth that isn’t felt in the previous tracks. Equally welcome is the folky-jazz style backing provided through Chris’ subtle use of brushes on drum kit and Rich’s relaxed bass guitar playing. Like the previous tracks, there are clever musical developments and without realising, you are transported to the halfway point where Steve’s vocal soars over slowly emerging electronic textures. For me, this is the highlight of the whole EP.

Closing the EP, we have Track 4 ‘Dead Man’ which due to it opening with forceful musical accents, wakes you up from the calming end of ‘On The Run’ making you sit up and listen. In some ways, this final track would seem to be a montage of all the bands best elements: rocky drums, great bass lines, clever lyrics and great musicality. It’s the perfect ending and if nothing else, it shows that while Silent Natives may have loosened their grip, their musicality is tighter than ever.

Loosen Your Grip by Silent Natives, is released on Friday 31st March 2017 and can be pre-ordered on iTunes now.

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