The Narrative

The Narrative

Written by: TL on 17/08/2010 23:18:08

The Narrative's very imaginatively titled debut album, "The Narrative" doesn't take long before making an impression. The New York trio more like explodes in your ears in an anthemic earpleaser that sounds like Mindy White (ex-Lydia) melted with Natascha Bedingfield and started playing alternative pop/rock. "Fade", as the song is called, is a demonstration of how to open an album with intent, and it gets the listener seriously pumped for more. However, already on the next song, the same listener is somewhat confused at learning that singer and pianist Suzie Zeldin is in fact not the main set of pipes at play, rather she just as often backs up or takes turns with guitarist Jesse Gabriel, who takes the lead on this somewhat more casual cut.

Admittedly, it takes a few spins to get over the fact that we won't be hearing twelve more tracks sounding just the same as "Fade", but then, given a chance, the remainder of the album will start to shine as well. True enough, Gabriel's vocal performance is, although proficient, not of as distinct a quality as Zeldin's, but the dynamic it creates and the harmonies it allows for more than makes up for it. In truth though, when the songs are as memorable and classy as this lot, Gabriel could've probably sung them all on his own and they would still be good. Zeldin's singing is simply the topping on an already delicious cake.

Essentially, The Narrative sound like a more straight-forward and down-to-earth Lydia, as their songs are all fairly predictable slabs of sentimental, yet often laid back, pop-rock. What's unusual for them is that they don't follow genre trends of stocking up on gimmicks, pretense and tricks of production to make their mark. No sir, a piano, a guitar, a drumkit and a pair of voices are seemingly all that is in play here, and it's not like The Narrative are trying to buy cheap points with cheeky or pseudo-controversial lyrical material either.

Rather it is good old fashioned skillful songwriting, understanding of dynamics and direct authenticity that makes the songs here seem like little pearls on a string. Each one has hooklines that will easily stick and make you sing along, and rarely if ever will you have that feeling of succumbing to a simpler nature, that normally lures in the mind while indulging pop-urges. Add that Zeldin gets away with moments here and there that will send shivers down your back, and "The Narrative" actually reaches out for some really high grades, however, for me to mark it higher would be saying that it is better than Lydia's comparable "Illuminate", and it is not. It is however, pretty God damn good, and I'm tempted to say that if you listen to only one record this year that might be more pop than rock, then so far "The Narrative" is likely to deserve being it.

8

Download: Fade, Silence And Sirens, Don't Want To Fall
For The Fans Of: Lydia, Gracer, Cute Is What We Aim For, Kate Nash
Listen: myspace.com/thenarrative

Release Date 27.07.2010
The Record Collective

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