Album Review: Is Tropical – Native To

By on Friday, 10th June 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Before I start the actual review, I must say that I’ve been a huge fan of London-based trio Is Tropical since I first listened to them. Funnily enough, the first song of theirs I heard was not a proper single, but a rather epic instrumental B-side ‘Tan Man’. I was so captivated by the synth work and the relentless drum beats. Ever since, I had to have my regular dose of Is Tropical.

The track which opens the album is, coincidentally, the A-side to ‘Tan Man’ – ‘South Pacific’. I always considered it very calming, with its graceful video featuring shots after shots of the blue ocean (watch the video below). The next track, ‘Land Of The Nod’, alongside with ‘Berlin’, caught my attention upon the first listen of the album. The lyrics from the chorus “drift me onto the Land of the Nod” seem to work very well as I always doze off to it under too many inappropriate circumstances. Anyway, the track is fun and bridges the listeners from the rather calm ‘South Pacific’ to the crowd mover ‘Lies’.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqYi_z_zW3A[/youtube]

The rich beats heard throughout ‘Lies’ keep the whole song subtly-paced. Not too fast, not too slow, but at a moderate speed that people can still dance to. Next comes ‘The Greeks’ (snag the free mp3 here), with a video that has gone viral within days of its upload. The secrets of having over a million views on YouTube after 5 days of its upload? Not only the video content is ridiculous (ridiculously good!), but also because its refrain constantly loops in the song. Needless to say, the refrain is utterly catchy. I guess these are probably the reasons why ‘The Greeks’ is now a big hit online.

Moving on to the latter part of the album, ‘Oranges’ sounds fresh and juicy, just like the fruit. The thrashing guitar opening definitely makes a statement. The song itself serves the same function like orange juice, as suggested by Is Tropical, “to keep one awake”. If you’re feeling a little bit sleepy, I’m sure the energetic intro can wake you up in no time. The next track, ‘Berlin’, is definitely a highlight of the album. It never ceases to put a smile on my face, even on the darkest days: a very happy song with an encouraging-sounding chorus: “I let myself go/ Just let yourself go”. The last two tracks on the album share a lot of similarities and go very well together. Both of them have a perfect match of sick bass line and also intriguingly intense drums. In ‘Zombie’, the guitar riff heard right before entering the next verse is just pure awesomeness. Finally, here comes the last track, ‘Seasick Mutiny’. It can almost be treated as an instrumental as it only has a tad of highly distorted vocals.

On a whole, the album is an enjoyable journey. I had a lot of fun listening to it, as well as reviewing it. Want to give it a listen before purchasing it (on limited edition vinyls maybe)? You can now do so now on Is Tropical’s Facebook page.

9.5/10

‘Native To’ will be released next Monday (the 13th of June) on Kitsuné.

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