Album review: The Natvral – ‘Tethers’: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart frontman returns with a more Laurel Canyon thing

FOLLOWING the disbandment of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart in 2017 after the release of The Echo of Pleasure, Kip Berman found himself at a creative crossroads, having written about young adult life in New York City with maturity and a fine ear for a tune.

Tethers is the further maturation of Berman as a songwriter in a new guise as The Natvral with an observation of the changes in his life marking this as a self-portrait of sorts. This comes with a move from hipster central Brooklyn to Princeton and the arrival of a new daughter, this new identity as a parent came with a shift in how he approached and created music. Instead of constant months of touring came writing after bedtime for the children.

Kip Berman, of The Natvral

Tethers has a raw but earthy sound reminiscent of Laurel Canyon, with the swoon of Berman’s voice sounding like mid-1970s’ Bob Dylan or Neil Young. This freedom of writing marks Berman out as a songwriter of similar great nuance and intellect as those famous troubadours and also David Crosby and Ron Sexsmith.

The album opens with ‘Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?’ which is both triumphant and reflective of a younger time when they would be out everyday, before responsibility took hold.

Second single 2New Moon” is this soulful ballad again about reflection but of hope springing eternal , when you look at the moon and think about the day that has passed and what has been achieved.  

The album’s emotional tone ranges from the emotive nature of “Sun Blisters”, to the yearning of “Sylvia, The Cup Of Youth”, which brings to mind the productive nature of Ryan Adams, to the barnstorming “Alone In London”, which ends the album on quite a crescendo.

This new persona for Berman marks him out as a new voice to watch and one that may well become as prolific as Ezra Furman was a few years ago – tapping into the psyche of a generation that was young at the start of the millennium and is now getting older.

The Natvral’s Tethers will be released by Dirty Bingo Records on April 2nd digitally and on vinyl; you can order your copy here.

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