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Nate and His Kite - Nate and His Kite and the... Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.75
Production 8.5
Creativity 10
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 89%
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Nate and His Kite - Nate and His Kite and the...

Reviewed by: Travis Parno (10/21/09)
Nate and His KiteNate and His Kite and the Artificial Scenery
Record Label: unsigned
Release Date: 2008

Critics, like weathermen, live and die on predictions.

It’s the job of the critic to digest, evaluate, and expel the next in an endless line of trends, fads, and stories of success and failure. The critic's role in the music world isn’t all that different. Sure, we listen to what we like, but more importantly, we often get excited about it and hope that you do too. We do our best to predict what you’ll like and try to cover the musical world accordingly (after all, without users, AP.net would just be a bunch of self-congratulating and all-too-reflexive staff members).

So here’s my prediction: you’re going to go nuts for Nate and His Kite.

How can I be so confident, you ask? Because, somewhat less predictably, this small band from somewhere in the reaches of northwestern Indiana has cruised under the radar despite turning out one of the catchiest and most creative releases in the last couple of years. They’re brash, they’re clever, and they somehow manage to tiptoe on every genre in the book without settling in any of them. The five members of Nate and His Kite also tend to ignore typical song structures, choosing instead to rocket from movement to movement without looking back. It’s so surprisingly fresh and undeniably pleasant that it’s impossible to say no.

The snappy bass-line that strolls onto the stage to open “Sway” seems cordial enough, that is, until the bands rips into a brief and explosive spoken/yelled rant stuffed to the seams with $10 words. Then the organ kicks in, everything slows to a crawl, and we’re all Kumbaya, singing lazily along, swaying to gospel choir "mmm"s. After a quick breath, the band joins in a multi-part a capella verse about an ill-fated ship before the bass groove picks up and we’re warned that “It’s best to turn this ship around/ Our mission here has run aground/ Give up, anchors away.” Oh, and this is only two and a half minutes into the song. We still have a woeful chorus and a more optimistic chorus to traverse. Head-spinning? For sure. Captivating? You bet.

The follow-up, “Porcelain Curse,” sticks to a more straightforward rock rhythm that’s driven by fuzzed out guitars and persistent shakers. The band throws in the occasional gang vocal to switch things up, but this track, like a Take This to Your Grave b-side, succeeds through simplicity. This approach is given the shake as soon as “A Night in Jackson” jangles into view. Written like an upbeat alt-country tune set in a dusty bar (complete with whistles and drunken yells from the band during the chorus), Nate and His Kite relate a tale of boozey friendship on a night to remember. It plays like a movie, but the pure sentiment of celebrating good times is too real to be scripted.

I would be the first to argue that a song laced with video game references and titled "NES <3" would fail and fail miserably. It avoids doing just that courtesy of well-crafted lyrics and unexpected tempo changes and backing vocals. It’s this blend of gritty edge with backing vocals that beg comparisons to show tunes and 1950’s do-wop that makes Nate and His Kite so damned endearing. And speaking of do-wop, try not to smile when “New England Monster Lover” coolly croons a chorus of “ooo-ooo-ooo-wah-wah-wah” over vamped piano. The show tune comparison pops up when the mood goes rag-time with piano, banjo, and spoken-word selections that define the words “old time radio.” Once again, it’s tough to know exactly what’s going on, but it’s impossible not to be entertained.

There’s certainly nothing artificial about Nate and His Kite and the Artificial Scenery. If you’re bored with the usual, need a taste of the eccentric, or just happen to like the cut of my jib, pick up this little-known gem. I’m predicting that you’ll be happy that you did.

Track List1. Sway
2. Porcelain Curse
3. A Night in Jackson
4. NES <3
5. New England Monster Lover

Give it a try if you like… Say Anything; Gatsby’s American Dream; the theatrics of The Dear Hunter

Hear it on the internetzOfficial Myspace | Official Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20.
04:11 PM on 10/21/09
#2
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Ehh. I no like. But I can appreciate what they're going for. Maybe it just needs some more listens.
04:23 PM on 10/21/09
#3
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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Ehh. I no like. But I can appreciate what they're going for. Maybe it just needs some more listens.
you also don't like any of the bands in the RIYL, so i'm not at all surprised. nor should you be.
04:35 PM on 10/21/09
#4
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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you also don't like any of the bands in the RIYL, so i'm not at all surprised. nor should you be.
That is a very good point. I suppose I just wanted to love it because it was so well-received by you. Forgive me.
05:06 PM on 10/21/09
#5
xapplexpiex
&.&
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Wow, great review. This sounds like something I might like. I love Say Anything and The Dear Hunter. Also, the 10 for creativity makes me excited to hear this.
09:03 PM on 10/21/09
#6
FullCollaspe
.,
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I really like their songs on myspace. The riyl fit's perfeclty, great review.
05:23 AM on 10/22/09
#7
thehereaway
snickers at the swine flu
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Wow, if this lives up to the RIYL section i will absolutely love this. Will check it out in a bit.
05:40 AM on 10/22/09
#8
awakeohsleeper
We never met, you and I
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I'd check this out based on the review.
05:47 AM on 10/22/09
#9
threepunchjim
the enemy is everywhere
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The GAD riyl made me jump from 6 to midnight. I'm gonna have to check this out.
08:05 AM on 10/22/09
zubinmoosa
Tonight I'm Burning Star IV
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I love SA, GAD, and TDH... I'll definitely check this out
09:40 AM on 10/22/09
INhopewefail
Regular Member
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Awesome music, awesome guys....will not disappoint. Awesome review as well.
09:42 AM on 10/22/09
LastDeclaration
mmm tasty
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How would we go about acquiring their music? Their online store isn't functioning yet, there's no torrents, and it's not even on iTunes.
10:00 AM on 10/22/09
zubinmoosa
Tonight I'm Burning Star IV
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damn, can't find this anywhere
10:08 AM on 10/22/09
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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How would we go about acquiring their music? Their online store isn't functioning yet, there's no torrents, and it's not even on iTunes.

damn, can't find this anywhere
yeah, for now i think we have to be happy with their myspace player. i suggest pummeling them with emails and myspace messages/comments until they relent and GIVE US WHAT WE WANT!
12:51 PM on 10/22/09
DI Pistola
tune in Tokyo
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I was almost getting old Bare Naked Ladies vibes from this. 'Almost.'

Pretty great stuff--bummer it's not available for digital purchase anywhere.
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