Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Review - Natty - Man Like I

Natty - Man Like I

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5 out of 10

For all the claims by Natty and his press team that he 'tells it like its', those claims only really stand up on two occasions on 'Man Like I'. His debut single, the dark dubby, skank of 'Cold Town', still packs a punch, as do the lyrics on 'Burn Down This Place', even if the music (A relaxed, country-tinged lilt) lacks the same fire. In both, Natty's comments on racism in Britain - including attempts to get inside the head's of racists - are simultaneously direct and oblique, and go beyond 'racism's bad'.

Otherwise, this is a diluted, indiefied take on reggae, and namedropping James Brown and Bob Marley won't make it more edgy. It's not surprising that he's an associated of Kate Nash and Adele, whose lite versions of folk and soul are products of the Brits School. 'She Loves Me' could have been made by One Night Only or The Kooks (More Brits School attendees), and is more than similar to the latter's 'She Moves Her Own Way'. From start to finish, 'Man Like I' carries on current pop music's post-Arctic Monkeys obsession with public transport (He's "writing rhymes on the bus stations" on 'July'), fast food outlets ("Grey skies and McDonald's fried on your way home", 'Say Bye Bye'), mobile phones and jumpers with hoods on. The petty rebellion on 'Coloured Souls' ("sometimes we jumped the fare") has featured on countless indie songs in the past few years. The badmouthing of The Media on 'Say Bye Bye' and 'Hey Man' clangs as well; as crude as an F- media studies essay: "All our minds being neutralised by these fucking Playstations".

He sounds more comfortable rapping than singing, as on 'Cold Town', the gangsta lounge music of 'Badman' (The chorus of which pilfers the riff of 'The Boys Are Back In Town') and the soulful 'Bedroom Eyes'. Natty's singing voice is a little like Sting, and despite it's reference to Bob Marley 'Stoned On You' sounds like The Police. It's so laid back and smulchy that even Magic FM might turn it away. Claims to be the voice of a generation are made on 'Coloured Souls', 'Hey Man' and the lacklustre acoustic 'Revolution', but the revolution doesn't go much beyond a Che Guevara t-shirt and some beads.


1. July
2. Cold Town
3. Stoned On You
4. She Loves Me
5. Revolution
6. Badman
7. Burn Down This Place
8. Hey Man
9. Bedroom Eyes
10. Last Night
11. Coloured Souls
12. Say Bye Bye

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