News, Reviews

The Natvral Shares New Single “Sun Blisters” – Debut Album Due 2nd April

March 20, 2021


Shares new single “Sun Blisters”

From debut album Tethers
Due 2nd April on Dirty Bingo Records

Kip Berman, former singer / songwriter of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart shares “Sun Blisters“, the third single from his debut solo album as The Natvral. The album, Tethers, is due on April 2 on Dirty Bingo Records. You can pre-order it here and watch the video below.

Kip says of the track, “It’s a song about how you don’t always want what’s for the best — and neither do I.”

The accompanying video was directed by Remy Holwick and David Usui, featuring The Natvral performing on a familiar mid-century American TV show set, and interspersed with beautiful choreography from real-life couple Gabrielle Sprauve and Chris Bloom.

Holwick and Usui say of the video, “The artists and audience of Americana have always been as diverse as America itself, a truth we wanted to reflect. We sought to tell parallel narratives, set in a sumptuous 1960s aesthetic, but careful to acknowledge the era’s complexities and contradictions.

“On one hand, it was a time of great musical opportunity – one in which TV allowed artists to take their music to millions of living rooms beyond the confines of Greenwich Village and college campuses. But by focusing on the struggle for personal freedoms inside those homes, we ask the viewer to consider how the art that often “defines” an era in cultural memory is only part of the story – and in many cases, is mere background music to the work of marginalized groups to write their own narratives.”

“We first encountered the work of real-life couple Gabrielle Sprauve and Chris Bloom, both with the esteemed NYC dance company Ballet Hispánico, when we saw their self-produced production of “Tunnels.” This routine, which the couple choreographed and filmed in a hallway in their NYC apartment building, took place when their dance company was forced to postpone production during the pandemic and they sought innovative ways of continuing to create during lockdown. 

“It was important to us that Sprauve and Bloom be the storytellers for their portion of the narrative, shaping the dance and the story arc. With visceral melancholy and estrangement lurking not far beneath a stunning, emotive, physical performance, we hope that Sprauve and Bloom take your breath away as much as they took ours.”

Sun Blisters is a truly stunning and rich composition. The Natvral creates such expressive pieces, hanging onto the emotional vocal deliverance, the resonating string, and the comforting tone. The new release is blissfully harmonic and an instant hit.

As the frontman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Kip Berman wrote songs about the thrills and ills of young adult life with the care and concern of a cool older sibling. The long-standing New York City indiepop group disbanded soon after releasing their final record, The Echo of Pleasure (2017), and Berman found himself at a creative crossroads. He wanted to keep making music, but the themes and sounds he was interested in had shifted; it felt time for a course correction.

Enter Tethers, Berman’s first solo record as The Natvral, which finds him coming to terms with the changes in his own life by observing those transformations in the people he’s known – a self-portrait in relief. In the time between making his last record with his former band, Berman’s life and location have shifted dramatically, as he welcomed a daughter, then a son, and moved from Brooklyn to Princeton. With his new identity as a parent came a crucial shift in how he approached music. Gone were the months in a cramped tour van and late nights rehearsing with his band in a windowless warehouse space. In its place were amorphous, suburban afternoons playing whimsical songs to two young children, while writing music for himself after their bedtime.

But in this time away from the life of a touring artist, Berman discovered an unvarnished, broken folk rock sound– a marked departure from his previous work. Recorded over 7 days with producer Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Black Country New Road, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), Tethers is as raw in sound as it is nuanced and empathetic in its lyricism. “It wasn’t so much a decision about how to work. It was the only way to do it. I had these songs, but not much time, so we just tracked everything as quickly and in the moment as we could and hoped for the best,” says Berman of his process.

Without effect pedals, overdubs or even a metronome, the resulting album feels free and unpretentious, recalling the strident obliqueness of Bob Dylan and Neil Young’s sonic primitivism – but drawn from a set of vividly detailed experiences all Berman’s own. Throughout, he is supported by former TPOBPAH collaborators Jacob Sloan (bass), Brian Alvarez (drums), Sarah Chihaya (backing vocals) and Crystal Stilts/Woods Kyle Forester (organ).

Preorder Tethers:

1. Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore
2. New Moon
3. Sun Blisters
4. New Year’s Night
5. Tears of Gold
6. Sylvia, the Cup of Youth
7. Stay in the Country
8. Runaway Jane
9. Alone in London

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