Springs Fragrant Flowers return!
Following their E.P. Vol. I, released pretty much this time last year, the UK Collective NATIVE DANCER return with their chronologically correct Vol. II, a 3 track E.P. Featuring the lead vocals of Swedish born, UK resident Frida Touray, Native Dancer once again demonstrate the attention to musicianship, songwriting and organic integrity they delivered on their wonderful debut.
Opening up with the statement of intent that is Seven Of Swords the track features an hypnotic staccato drumbeat, punctuated with warm keys, and a melodic chorus layered by Frida’s flushed vocals. From the subtle intro to the atmospheric flourish rounding it off, the track is one that lingers in the memory.
Big Blue follows a similar motif and encapsulates what many bands hope to achieve. Each instrument, of which I include Frida’s vocals, come together as one entity, awakening, arousing, propelling and swaying in perfect unison.
Frida’s heartfelt and lush vocals interplay perfectly with the simmering instrumentation
Frida’s heartfelt and lush vocals interplay perfectly with the simmering instrumentation, highlights being Josh Arcoleo’s sax and Sam Crowe’s keys. This track seeps into you through every available pore, drenching you in exquisite musical bliss. It is that good.
The final track, In Clouds, treads a more eclectic electronic path, and for me, is a track of one third, lacking for the most part the organic and natural feel of the other featured tracks.
The track starts life in an almost trip hop/pop fashion with the percussion and drums taking centre stage, before it merges into a sparser arrangement as it concludes. Frida’s vocals are endearing, but I can’t say I connected with this track, as the arrangement just left me cold. That said there was some reward in persevering with it, as the latter third of the track gave the keys of Sam Crowe and the bass of Jonathan Harvey space to breathe, and the feelings they imparted summed up the track title, as it is expansive and fluid (I would love to see them expand this idea into a fully fledged track.)
As with the first EP (which you should definitely check out) Vol. II wears its influences firmly on its sleeves, as it straddles the worlds of Soul, Jazz and Electronica, and does so with real heart and dare I say it, Soul (yep I said it!)
It may be short at three tracks, but it is in parts a joyous experience and a worthy addition to your musical collection. Much like the return of spring the EP breathes into life and shows Native Dancer to be a band blossoming into a fully fragrant flower.
Currently available in Japan on MP3 and on CD featuring E.P. I & II the E.P. will be available worldwide on 30.04.2016.
Cover art by Victoria Topping