Native – Wrestling Moves
Record Label: Sargent House
Release Date: October 30th, 2009 (digitally) / January 26, 2010 (physically)
It’s to Native’s credit that the most jarring aspect of Wrestling Moves is also its most hidden. A band with so much screeching and so little paucity of any type will inevitably create layers. Some more immediate than others (like Bobby Markos’ frantic vocalizing), these tiers of post-hardcore mathiness tend to make for a dense record, one that’s in need of some serious unwrapping. Wrestling Moves would be a gag gift if its climaxes weren’t so everlasting. And after you remove the at-times heavy chugging of guitarists Ed O’Neil and Dan Evans, or the through-the-telephone effects of Markos, you see that what Markos is saying, what this music is actually about, makes it so much more than some indie record that we’ll all pretend to like just because we’re supposed to. On “Five Year Payoff”, a slow-moving force of a song, Markos uses cryptic effects to hide his super simple message: “These verses show readers the pictures of history / Words will age but never will fade.” Switch that light bulb on.
To describe a song on Wrestling Moves is to describe a soooong. And by giving the listener gobfuls to play with, we are allowed to overcome the initial feeling of extreme musical gluttony and pick out only the most nourishing parts. The fullness fades into a yearning for content, and that’s exactly what Wrestling Moves possesses. “Marco Polo” features but two lines from Markos, and yet despite my masturbatory remarks above, it’s the album’s finest piece. For nearly too long, a lone guitar chisels away in hopes of finding a rewarding melody, but once the discovery is made it is gone again. Markos does his best Pyramids impersonation and hammers us all to hell in less than a minute. A song like this takes trust in not only one’s talent but also in one’s listener. For an overactive band like Native to make us sit and chew for 3+ minutes, and for it to be a success, is almost unthinkable. Think of "Marco Polo" as a reimagining.
But Wrestling Moves isn’t completely devoid of that which made We Delete; Erase so memorable. “Legoland” and “Members List” bounce around from kinda loud to really loud, feature gang vocals and oddly timed moments of contemplation (especially the “NO HE DIDN’T” drum solo on “Members List”). Who’s to say if songs like those are appeasements to older fans or just signs of the band’s true calling. Either way, I’ve found myself filling up on the Minus The Bear-esque instrumental of “Pocket Jingle” and discordantly blissed-out ending of opener “Backseat Crew.”
I don’t believe that bands actually experiment on records, because I feel like it’s impossible to call any type of music anything other than, well, an experiment. (Some choir nerds at my high school took a class called Musical Theory, so I’m inclined to agree with myself here.) Suffice it to say that Native try a foreign thing or two on Wrestling Moves. And by god, or maybe by Fender(?), they all work.
Recommended If You Like: Minus The Bear meets Pyramids, Botch in a field of flowers, i don't know, other loud stuff