Natty drops sophomore album “Release the Fear” on February 29th, 2016. An eclectic yet memorable musical journey.
About 8 years after the release of his debut album, “Man Like I”, Natty is back with a brand-new record titled “Release the Fear”. Those who familiar with his work surely won’t deny that Natty‘s music is really unique in its genre. To sum up, his style is characterized by cheerful melodies tinted of a subtle Roots flavor, reflecting joy and positivity.
An album that conveys happiness and optimism
In the keeping with his first album, “Release the Fear” conveys happiness and optimism. Since I am not accustomed to Natty‘s style, at the very first listen. I expected something more Roots-oriented. I thought the album sounded sort of eclectic. But then, I listened to it one more time. And it all made sense the way it was put together.
A musical journey
It’s a musical journey. Natty takes us to the motherland Africa with vividly percussive beats and high-pitched syncopated guitar plucks in tracks such as “I’m Alive”. He also brings us to the heart of the Caribbean with dubby Roots-oriented tracks like “Changes”, featuring Alborosie and Busy Signal.
The lead single of the album, “I’m Alive”, was voiced on an uptempo percussive beat in order to emphasize Natty‘s message and optimism. It is accompanied by a high-pitched plucked guitar, which is characteristic of certain styles of African music and conveys a feeling of hope and joy. Echoes of the guitar lead and various ambient synths blend with a discrete flute to create a dreamy atmosphere. And Natty sings: “Some people fight to survive. So I’m gonna celebrate life. Tonight I dance till I see the day, cuz I’m alive.”
We continue the travel with some more crossover and experimental Reggae-flavored music. Natty embarks us on his “Supersonic Soul Rebel Ship” to fly above the “Rain Clouds”. He encourages us to move on and embrace life with love. Then, he delivers “Streetlights”, a quite catchy and upbeat Drum & Bass-oriented track.
Back to the Roots
Then, we head straight back to the Roots of the caribbean with “Seasons Change”, featuring Busy Signal and Alborosie. One of the best tracks on the album. On a bright and upful modern Nyahbinghi riddim, Natty and his peers sing about changes. “There’s a new breeze, I can feel the change coming in the air. […] I look to the sky, the sun’s got a different kind of glare. When I look into the eyes of the youths, I see no more fear.” They also remind us that “change don’t come in a day”, but you shouldn’t give up because as “seasons change, we’ll find a way”.
The travel continues
In the track “Motherland”, the artist expresses the need to break free of Babylon’s chains and connect with his deeper roots in Africa. He also sings that his choice is somehow controversial in the western lifestyle. “My future’s looking hazy. They call me crazy. Same time last year, they called me lazy.” In a certain way, he probably relates the difficulties Rastafarians face to fit in the society. Musically, the song is very interesting too. It sort of sounds like some African tales are being told and accompanied by various percussive instruments.
In the keeping with “Motherland”, “Stand Up” sounds heavily influenced by African music. The song is much more cheerful and dynamic than “Motherland”. It conveys a great energy. And again, Natty supports and shows love. He invites us to “stand up in love” on the vibrant rhythm of African percussions and the syncopated melody of the guitars.
Change is in the air
In the same style as “Change”, “Gaia” is a modern Roots Reggae track. The horns section of this track is amazing. It’s laid-back and mesmerizing. It lifts you to higher grounds alongside the echoes of the lead guitar as Natty “summon up the spirit”.
“Things I Done” has a sort of Country music vibe to it. In this song, Natty gets sort of personal. He delivers a confession as he seems to be seeking out redemption. Despite the things he’s done, he aspires to become a better person.
“King Had a Dream” is the most peaceful track on the album. It starts with an acoustic guitar riff that is quite dynamic, in the background we can hear a slightly distorted electric guitar echoing far away. It leaves plenty room for Natty‘s comforting voice. Earlier, in the track “Change”, he was singing that it takes time for things to evolve. In “King Had a Dream”, when he perfectly illustrates “changes”. He sings:
“Tell my people I won’t be coming home, I’ll be walking in the streets tonight. Shaking hands with everybody I meet saying King had a dream and now it’s my real life.”
He refers to Martin Luther King’s famous dream speech. Back then, as a black he wouldn’t have the rights to shake hands with everybody because of segregation. Now, he can. Here again, Natty inspires hope.
And the fear has been released
The overall album exudes relief and hopefulness. And the closing track sums it up pretty neatly. “Release the Fear” gives you a real sensation of alleviation and relaxation. The instrumental sounds really soothing with its calm strumming guitar, laid-back R’n’B-flavored drumming and the smooth jazz sax that blends in seamlessly towards the end.
Natty and The Rebelship have produced a beautiful album. It’s not quite exactly a Reggae album (warning to the purists). Natty calls this savory blend Future Roots. —Music changes too.— It is lyrically deep and musically colorful. In his sophomore album, “Release The Fear”, Natty shares his love for life and wants to inspire hope and changes. Just follow his advice, “release the fear and jump right in”. Check out the album now. If you’ve already listened to the album, leave a comment below and let us know what you think of it.
01. I’m Alive
02. SS I Love You (Reprise)
03. Rain Clouds
07. Stand Up
09. Things I Done
10. King Had A Dream
11. Release The Fear