Nathaniel Sutton

Starlite

Written by: TL on 29/12/2009 01:58:51

After dealing with two less than forthcoming records, I thought now was the time to kick back with Nathaniel Sutton, a one-man dark-pop/indie-tronica outfit from Canada, who recently released the sophomore album "Starlite". Surely, such a thing would be an easily accessible and enjoyable listen, right?

Not so Timmy! Because while "Starlite" is indeed a very easily digestable experience, it does come with one major fuckin' drawback, but I'll leave that for a bit until I've painted it's sonic picture: This is minimalistic, indie/pop/electronica, with simplistic guitar strumming and various key melodies wrapping themselves around similarly simple, programmed beats. It compares to PlayRadioPlay! except it is much more subtle in its use of synths and it compares to Owl City, except it is much darker in sound. This darkness is a natural consequence of Nathaniel writing his music to match his soft baritone vocal, which I will unveil as being exactly that massive drawback I hinted at before. Nathaniel, as a fellow aspiring baritone singer, I know how much this hurts to hear, but to the best of my hearing ability, you can't sing very well. In fact, your performance on "Starlite" ranges from "poor" to "painful". Especially on "Hypnotized Eyes" you really, really, really make me want to turn your record off and put on something else.

I wish I could tell you that there was a song demonstrating your singing in a bearable form but I just can't. I wish I could tell you that I could tear my attention from your stumbling performance, but I can't. And the robot-production on your voice isn't doing me any favours in my attempts I'd like to note. In fact, whenever I put on your album and try to listen to it, the only thing I can think about is how badly I want to escape the sound of the singing on it, and that's quite a shame, because while I am not exactly blown away by your instrumentals, there's hardly anything appaling about them - Maybe if they had been in focus more, they could've balanced out the vocal performance slightly, but so far, their restriction in the backing role prevents this I'm afraid. Seriously though, if my advice is good for anything, take some singing lessons and lose the God damn vocoder, because until you do, your music will sound flat out terrible in my ears.

3

Download: Killer In The House, 1933
For The Fans Of: (or in this case; you should rather listen to) Owl City, PlayRadioPlay!, Hellogoodbye
Listen: myspace.com/nathanielsutton

Release Date 29.09.2009
Oak Apple Records

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