"Collapse," originally recorded for Fever Fever's national debut, Aftermath, is the best example of this. The first two and a half minutes take a more somber approach than the original, exclusively utilizing a gentle piano and soft vocals. Halfway through the song, a harmonium, drums, and vibraphone are all layered in as the song shifts into a beautiful new verse where lead singer Drew Murfin poetically sings in his gently husky voice, "raise up the veil / see the city on the hill / see the lights swimming still on the land / don't say a word / let the spirit take control / take the wonders of the world in your hand / oh sweet Eden." Adding lyrics to a song can be tricky, but this new verse complements the original song so well, it feels like it was meant to be there all this time. Similar to "Collapse," "Madness" (also from Aftermath) and "It All" (from their 2012 Kingdom EP) both make already solid tracks even more intriguing.
"Blue" and "Aftermath" were two of the stronger tracks from Aftermath, and their acoustic renditions do the originals justice. Organic soundscapes composed of pianos, upright bass, acoustic guitar, and many other instruments lay a solid foundation for the band's hopeful and subtly spiritual songwriting. Who can forget such clever lyrics as "I sewed my clothes from the earth to feel a little less shameful / I took a knife from the rock and I cut his throat to feel a little more able"? "Curious" is the only completely new track here. The more simplistic acoustic strumming doesn't captivate as much as the more layered instrumentation on the aforementioned tracks, but the tone it creates makes you feel like the band is right there in your living room. It would be nice to hear this song on a studio album with a fuller sound as the melody and lyrics are both excellent.
For an EP, Native Color II offers a generous amount of material with 7 tracks clocking in at twenty eight minutes. In an over-saturated industry, gems like this can so easily fall through the cracks. Hopefully that is not the fate of Native Color II as it has both artistic integrity and accessibility superior to much of what the mass market is consuming right now. Currently, the EP is on Noisetrade as a free download (with tips being accepted), so go grab yourself a copy!- Review date: 6/23/16, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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