Native's first full-length, Wrestling Moves is, in a nutshell, challenging math rock tinged with post-hardcore in the vein of Fugazi. This album is full of wonderful musicianship, challenging and engaging lyrics, and a drummer that blows me away.
Native begin the record with "Backseat Crew", a seriously jamming tune that begins with a creative drumbeat that only evolves into something more complex and refreshing. That is a good word to describe this band: refreshing, as this band is breathing new life into a dead variation of post-hardcore. The songs that this band compose evolve and rearrange with every passing second, gaining momentum or completely abandoning it; whatever it is, this band is something beautiful.
Next on the track listing is "Legoland". The lyrics and bass of this song shine and it is definitely one of the album's standout tracks, not to mention the longest, clocking in at just under five-and-a-half minutes. Bassist/vocalist Bobby Marcos exclaims with his sharp yelp, "This glass is a safe, holding my age. Rip off the fake nails and follow the tracks of a deer up ahead." With this song, other gems like "Ponyboy" and the title track, Native sculpts passionate landscapes of sound that blow me away with every listen. They can only get better.
As I mentioned before, the drummer for this band is goddamned incredible. He crafts skillfully composed fills, beats and accents that are somewhat bewildering (see the aforementioned "Ponyboy"). This guy has to smoke some serious bud, because I have no idea how else he can create these impressive compositions. He carefully executes every little sound and accent with astounding skill; I cannot stress how much the drums on this record impress me. I find something new every time I listen to them. Along with Marcos, the rhythm section for this band is unmatched. It's hard to surpass talent like this, folks. (Not to mention that Marcos sings and plays his crazy basslines at the same time.)
The guitars shine on this album on the epic instrumental "Marco Polo" and the title track. The guitarists utilize a wide array of effects and add mathy, noodly tones. The different lead riffs blend well and are beautifully crafted. The execution is excellent. They follow the drums' constant tempo changes and fit perfectly. This band has fully developed their sound. They seem so comfortable, and it impresses me.
The only complaints I have about this record are three things: The silly instrumental "Mason Jars" is totally out of place. It is the only instrumental track on the record I skip. Another problem I have is with the fifth track, "Five Year Payoff". Marcos' voice is masked by an effect that makes his lyrics more unintelligible than usual. This track seems out of place as well; I also feel it would be more enjoyable without the effects on the vocals. For the first half of the song Marcos is speaking softly, I would have loved to hear his voice speaking clean, similar to Jordan from La Dispute. The last problem I have is with the lyrics. The words flow like waves and create a delivery full of passion, but not so much meaning. Marcos definitely leaves these lyrics up to the individual to interpret, but they don't always convey a message to me. Some of the lyrics are fucking amazing, but others make no sense to me. This brings back memories of At the Drive-In, another influence I can sense within the band; the lyrics are just insane.
This band is awesome. I cannot stress that enough. They are creating music with maturity, talent and passion that is far beyond their years. I can't wait to catch these guys live. If you get the chance, do so. Who knows how long this band will be around, but they blow most modern post-hardcore bands out of the water, and without the use of much distortion or heavy tones. This is amazing music that you simply cannot miss. Highly recommended.
"Rise, take thanks for creation. We'll side with those who are humble. We hide our knives in cloaks made out of smirks; we plagiarize thinking."
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