Is Tropical ? Native To (Kitsune Records)

June 20, 2011 by  

Back track to last year and Is Tropical were making quite a name for themselves with their first
released single ‘Seaside Mutiny/When O’ When’. Both songs had that indie-from-another-world
Klaxon-esque style, and the bloggers all thought Is Tropical could be the band to guide listeners on
another mystical journey back to ‘Myths of the Near Future’ with their debut ‘Native To’. They were
wrong, but not in a devastating way. Is Tropical moved away from the glow sticks instead, and
settled for some British electro-pop with their new album.

Its an album which starts strongly, and includes the first two singles ‘South Pacific’ and ‘The Greeks’
in the first five tracks. ‘South Pacific’ is more a of a dream-pop number with hazy lo-fi sounds and
easy on the ear vocals. ‘The Greeks’ is a different kind of monster and has a more suited sound for
the band with a dark, raving back beat and crunching guitars. Tracks like ‘Lies’ and ‘What’ also
make for a great kick off to the album with driving bass lines and heavy synth work reminiscent of
electro-house act Justice. Unfortunately, it’s after this where ‘Native To’ becomes less memorable
and the songs seem to melt into one another.

What’s puzzling about the band is the image they portray themselves in doesn’t really go along with
the music on this album. Their style which seems to be a mix of trash fashion meets The Warriors
makes you feel like your about to hear some dark, futuristic, post apocalyptic electro. Instead your
greeted by songs which lean more towards Calvin Harris playing to V Festival (see ‘Clouds’ and
‘Berlin’), then Simian Mobile Disco playing to Mad Max and the rest of the Thunderdome. There
are tracks here that show a darker sound in the form of ‘The Greeks’ and ‘Zombie’ but not enough to
compliment the bands look.

The album ends well with a couple of fan favourites in the form ‘I Think We’re Alone’ and ‘Seasick
Mutiny’ which couldn’t be more different from one another. The latter is a bit-pop instrumental full
of glitch sounds and 90’s computer game samples, which listeners will find fiendishly annoying or
insanely catchy. On the other hand ‘I Think We’re Alone’ floats back into dream-pop territory with
Mystery Jet’s styled guitar riffs oozing of reverb.

‘Native To’ is not a below par album, its just one that you were expecting a lot more from. There are
a number of tracks which hit the right spots but at the end your left wishing Is Tropical’s hits were a
lot harder then this.