Non Nordic Sunday: The Nature Centre - ‘Birds’ (video)
My idea for this years Non Nordic feature was to try and visit as many different countries as possible, and never write about the same country twice. So maybe I shouldn’t play the ‘England card‘ quite so soon, but it is for one of my favourite
bands, The Nature Centre, so it’s definitely worth it.
I did briefly write about them a couple of years ago, when they were fundraising for their debut album ‘Never Not’, without question the most played CD in my car (along with Army of Moths obviously) over the last 12 months – I know exactly when to shout ‘fuck all’ in the Dinosaur song, found myself telling people in the office that ‘my brain is like a bowl of soup’ and pondered way too many times whether I’m also a ‘beach hut holiday‘.
It was even reviewed in Prog Magazine, who described it as “a miniature avant-pop masterpiece", which actually is very nice and fitting.
Of course since the jubilation of their debut album, and a typically hapless evening on my part when I went to see them play but missed them due to a change in performance set times, the country has gone into lock down and the band have barely been able to rehearse together. So to get round this they’ve constructed a series of releases based on band members ‘passing the musical baton’ around by recording something, and then asking the next band member to layer something on top.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and of course the result is something slightly different to The Nature Centre’s normal musical offering, which usually involves quirky indie pop that disappears in the absolute opposite direction that you’re expecting. ‘Birds’ is the 1st of 4 songs released in this way, and it’s a fluid, rich and interesting track, led by guitar and wind instruments gently setting out a winding and slightly unusual melody. Those instrumentals remind me a little of North Sea Radio Orchestra / Arch Garrison, which can only be a good thing, and I think the whole thing works pretty nicely.
I particularly love the video, involving band member Olli in an actual Nature Centre, disguising himself as a bird feeder (a 'care crow' apparently) to try to attract birds to him. The song officially is released on all streaming platforms on 5th Feb.
Anyway look forward to the next track in the series. Hopefully it’s not called ‘Lions’ and filmed at West Midlands Safari Park.