Sunday, 20 December 2009
Joy! Hope! Love! Guitar! Tambourine! Nostalgia! Conflict Resolution! Banjo! Cooking! The Perfect Recipe For A Smile. I think Nate and Tessa know what they are talking about because when I opened my mailbox and saw their album inside, all I could do was smile. The packaging is bright, colorful, and full of detail. Also, they are the first artist to send me a physical CD for me to review which is excellent seeing they are entirely DIY. What you're getting with your purchase is really a double album between Destroy Nate Allen and Nate Allen. For the first ten tracks expect Destroy Nate Allen, a sing-along folk punk band from Portland, Oregon. They are a two piece married couple that play high energy interactive shows across the country. Nate Allen then takes over for the next ten with just him and his great grandfathers banjo. He claims to not be able to play the banjo, but just tuned it like a guitar and hoped for the best. I think he did a really excellent job in pulling it off.
I never reviewed a double album before, so let's just start off with A Perfect Recipe For A Smile. Tessa wrote her first songs "Turns Out You're Perfect For Me" and "Recipe". "Recipe" takes place from when they made a bad batch of pancakes and is a reminder to follow directions. This track definitely reinforces their claim to be "Children songs for adults" showing an urgency to stick to the recipe. Some of my favorite tracks "His Lips Are Sealed Hallelujah" and "White Flag" were written together and are a true collaboration of efforts. Destroy Nate Allen really pulls my attention in the rock n' roll inspired tracks "Loving You", "Anchors Away", and the Tessa-written track "Turns Out You're Perfect For Me" which is a loving song that will have you singing along even when there's nobody else to sing along with. You can tell their music is really about the love for the music, friends, and for each-other. Destroy Nate Allen will truly make you smile no matter what.
Don't Let This Smile Fool You is yet again Nate Allen's solo work on his great grandfather's guitar. It's a collection of short, sentimental, D.I.Y pop songs. It's a more restrained, honest banjo/ukulele playing that focuses on the lyrics more than instrumentation. It starts off with a quick banjo-poppy track called "Phil Collins" with the lyric "I'm not Phil Collins, but I might be Henry Rollins, banging out a tune on this old banjo" which really sets up the album to what it's about. The momentum is carried to track 3, "35, 35, 35" which tunes it down with some affectionately nostalgic lyrics. My favorite track has to be "Glow In The Dark" which is an adorable piece with the chorus "Hold my hand, we'll glow in the dark together". Overall, you're going to love the stripped down Nate Allen solo work that he's done.
Destroy Nate Allen is one of the most honest, catchy, sing-along, nostalgic duos I have ever listened to. It's entirely impossible to not smile when listening to this album when both of the albums are full of love for everything. You can get their albums on any of the links below and I highly recommend buying the physical CD. The packaging is amazing and will look great in your collection. If that hasn't sold you, all the lyrics AND tabs are in the in the insert so you can play their songs for your friends and sing along. I look forward to seeing more from this truly folk punk duo.