Modern Nature – How To Live (Review)

Released August 23rd on Bella Union, Modern Nature’s debut album “How To Live” has took a plunge straight into our hearts. Blending euphoric folk, experimental jazz and psych-tinged indie rock, the project consists of U.K artists Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painted, Mazes) and Will Young (BEAK, Moon Gangs). Featuring drummer Aaron Neveu (Woods) saxophonist Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers) and cellist Rupert Gillett, the album has engraved a message that you can simply mix all types of influences and create a whole new world of music. 

Album opener “Bloom” sets a melancholic tone that feels like like things are simply a struggle. Crossing over a world of relaxation but also fatigue, the  album sets an aesthetic feel of hope through a dark tunnel. What grabs your attention with this track is, you can feel perhaps anything, but it let’s you imagine your own narrative. “Footsteps” doesn’t stick to the dark energy of the first track, instead it hypnotises you with it’s rhythmical aura. Lifting the album with the first lyric, the vocal tone is soft and slightly vulnerable, but leads the number through a wistful journey of what will come next. Unpredictable and unique, this album is completely sold to me even from the first two tracks. 

Turbulence” holds an avant-garde arrangement that feels like Brian Eno met up with Nick Cave and created this ambient number. Cementing that the album highlights the lines between city and country, the urban and rural areas may be different, but if you listen closely… they all connect the dots. How to Live is simply the music to listen to while in nature. Melodically wonderful, “Criminals” may feel weak, but it’s weakness isn’t that it lacks energy, there simply isn’t one. Intertwining what feels like a dark mood, the instrumentation is arranged so it feels like a sort of comfort. Rupert’s string arrangement is simply cinematic and ready for film. A force to be reckoned with and a beautiful track that stands clear at the top of the album. 

Séance” begins with a gentle but effective guitar riff. Suddenly it comes to a halt and changes it’s rhythm pattern, before elevating into a full band arrangement. Flipped into a sort of reverse, the experimental nature of this track makes it a personal favourite of mine. Elliott Smith like vocals calm a manic rhythm section with it’s purity to tell a story. Slightly progressive towards the end, it’s the type of track that you can listen to over and over and still hear something different with every listen. “Nightmares” begins with a whole 9 seconds of pure silence. Leaving a gap of nothing leaves us, the listeners, simply intrigued of what’s to come. What makes this debut so original is the levels of influences that have sourced power for the tracks. It’s an album that you can’t give one genre to describe it and THAT is what makes the band so remarkable. 

Peradam” feels as though it needs more energy pumping into it. Probably my least favourite on the album only as it lacks in imagination and feels like needs uplifting. Saying that, it still holds onto the album’s twilight tone. Tranquil and simply floating you across a gentle stream, “Oracle” is a stand out track that sits comfortably within the album. Setting a calming tone through the string of the track, Oracle’s core mellows us out but still grabs your attention with it’s tender vibe. “Nature” may seem all happy and filled with roses, but it’s message is a lot darker than it seems. Giving us a view on our current environment, the track includes lyrics that all of us know could be linked too. “The great failure” tells of our deteriorating nature and concludes with “lock them up, and don’t forgive them”. Including lyrics like this leaves a question mark hanging over our heads to who it may be about. Leaving the audience to stick to their own thoughts, it’s a clever awakening of our “Nature” at the moment. 

Last track “Devotee” concludes the album and will leave you picturing a scenery like no other. Modern Nature have created a soundscape that you simply can let your mind wonder in. Making listeners think of our current environment and what’s to come, this album will put their name simply on the map. Captivating and a rollercoaster ride that you don’t want to get off, “How to Live” features some of the most elegant visions you could ever picture. A fascinating album that will keep on giving with each listen.

Score: 8/10


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