by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
There isn’t much out there in the world of popular music that could prepare you for Chicago collective Nature’s Neighbor, a band most closely related to free jazz, but to pin them to a singular sound would be a disservice and a bold faced fib. Led by Mike Walker (keys, guitars, vocals, etc), he’s joined by a cast that is innovative, undeniably creative, and musically capable, including Nnamdi Ogbonnaya (guitar, keys, drums), Sen Morimoto (saxophone), and Seth Engel (guitar, drums, keys) among others. Their sound is as much based in Eastern tradition as it is psych pop and experimental art rock. Times are strange, but Nature’s Neighbor are spreading a tranquility. on their last record, Ur, due out February 11th.
With touches of sultry R&B, spaced-out ambiance, detached jazz, and world music pop, every song is a different texture, a different taste of artistic exploration. Second single “转悠转悠 (Zhuan Yuo),” which features Cheer Zhao on vocals, is sung entirely in Mandarin Chinese but the song’s sweeping dream-state and laid back in the pocket beat are universally felt. The hypnotic groove tinkers with layered pianos and an infectious vocal melody, a surreal pop escape that opens into a complex rhythmic pattern. The drum’s polyrhythmic eruption is met with a slow drift outward, built on plodding keys and reverberating xylophone. If you’ve been waiting on something truly different, let Nature’s Neighbor be your guide.
Nature’s Neighbor’s Ur is out February 11th