The Nautical Theme
LOWS and HIGHS
Luscious Yet Brittle Folk-Americana
It’s spectacularly odd reviewing music at this time. To some degree ‘music’ is a frivolous accompaniment to our long days sitting waiting for the Corona Virus Plague to go away .
But; I also know that Musicians are in desperate need of sales to put food on their tables; so sadly, my reviews perhaps take on a new importance.
No pressure there, then.
Nearly three years ago I said “Duo Rock The Folk Out of Acoustic Music” about the Nautical Theme’s debut album, FLOAT and; not a lot has changed with this, their second album.
The punchy and perceptive Break My Fall, with Matt taking lead vocals and Tesia providing honeyed harmonies is a real attention grabber; and the perfect opener; especially as the mood takes a left turn next with the beautiful, yet melancholy Other Side which follows.
I can’t put my finger on it; but the production here somehow brings out something special and even ageless in these songs. As a ‘man of a certain age’ it’s all too easy to hear comparisons with the Laurel Canyon acts of yore; or more recently the Civil Wars, but it’s never that simple as both Tesia Mallory and Matt Shetler both have very distinctive voices in their own rite; and their richly detailed songs similarly follow a very contemporary path.
The couple neatly take turns as lead vocalist and it would take someone with sharper hearing than I, to say who is the better singer. For me they choose the songs to compliment the individual voice; which is both clever and professional.
As with the previous album, this is American Folk Music that Rocks, ever so slightly.
One More Left and the gentle piano led Not Really sure find Tesia at the front; but what you will remember most is the wonderful way their voices intertwine to create lovely and breathy music.
When Matt takes lead on Other Side and River there’s a definite warmth to the songs; which is partly his rich voice, but that ‘luscious production and mastering’ brings something really special out too.
For a Modern Folk album; which this is, most songs here are actually very commercial and hopefully destined for National Radio; especially Some Things Never Change and the title track LOWS and HIGHS, but I’m going elsewhere for my Favourite Song; Family Lie which sounds just as commercial; but listen closely and you will find a very personal story that far too many of us can connect with.
Tesia Mallory (vocals, keys) and Matt Shetler (vocals, guitar) aka The Nautical Theme have created a very special ‘sound’ that is quite unlike anyone else I can think of; and once this Plague is over and done with, will surely take a massive leap forward in their career.
Released March 20th 2020