Review: Native – Wrestling Moves

NativealbumArtist: Native
Album: Wrestling Moves
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: Sargent House

It’s finally here! The UTG Staff’s pick for “Most Anticipated” album of Fall 2009, Native’s Wrestling Moves. I have been lucky enough to spend the last couple weeks with the record and though I wanted to wait until the Halloween [ish] release, I just couldn’t wait any longer to talk about this work of art. Yea, I said it, it’s not just music or noise, it’s [meticulously well done] art and though their sound has moved to a bit more progressive vibe than their prior releases, Native is still Native and that’s really all anyone could ask of them.

Now, I know some of you may go into this review thinking their is a built in bias as the group has previously been featured on the site, but one should note that given the amount of excitement we’ve had for this record and the many months spent waiting to actually hear it, the bar is/was set extremely high. In fact, I feared we’d overdone it a bit, but then, I heard the album.

Starting off with, “Backseat Crew” and moving forward into “Legoland” and “Mason Jars,” Native quickly gets to work doing what they do best, creating a sonic atmosphere in which to create their style of music. It’s something captivating about them both live and on record as they seem to waste not a second of time their given to transport listeners from wherever they are to the universe of Native. It’s a land rich with bass and drum lines and littered with melodic guitar work that not only consumes, but moves anyone who hears it. It’s pretty obvious right from the beginning that the vocals have taken a much more front and center position on this release. Though not shoved in your face level wise, all vocal lines are noticeably louder than on previous works and the lyrical depth and content is more expansive than ever. Finally, the message and sound BOTH have grandeur and without stepping too far from the groundwork the group has been laying for years. Yes, it is different, but not shockingly so. There’s no sudden burst of harmonized singing or epic hooks. More like the indie version of battle cries set to the most intricate, yet atmospheric soundtrack possible.

As you listen in and move deeper into Wrestling Moves, we find Native expanding their already impressive musical landscape on tracks like the somber “Five Year Payoff” or the simply expansive title track which closes the record. Both are more than solid examples of why this release will cement Native as the new staple for indie rock. There’s something about the group’s simply stellar take on music that allows them to use seemingly punk based ideals in whatever genre or musical realm they choose. It’s beautiful and angst laden all at once and that’s what makes it great. Somehow there’s a balance that works so well you’d think they’d been in the scene for over a decade.

I’m not trying to overstep my boundaries as a young music critic, but out of every album I’ve heard this year, nothing has been more unique, expansive, or passionate than Wrestling Moves. There’s a raw energy laced in each and every note that simply compels you to listen in more and more. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve made it through a single other album in the past two weeks without relating it to or simply returning to Native’s Sargent House debut. I won’t lie, it’s not a sound or record for everyone, but for those who get it, it will move you.

Score: 9.5/10
Written By: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • colin

    First of all, I really like this band a whole lot. Second of all, I would have never guessed you were a young music critic because this review was awesome and so well-written.

  • Thanks for posting this. It helped with quite a bit of concerns which I had.