From the moment Sara Kermanshahiâ€™s plaintive vocals start, itâ€™s difficult to make out her gender just by listening. That, combined with the band name, creates a delicious ambiguity. The emotional weight of the lyrics could apply to man or woman– anyone whoâ€™s felt vulnerable before.
Natureboyâ€™s instrumentation is simple but effective. The build of â€œFamous Sonsâ€ around the same repetitive lead guitar feels like a natural swell of emotion, and â€œDitherâ€ features acoustic plucking that any singer-songwriter could be proud to claim on an album. â€œRailroad Apt.â€ verges on haunting without getting too spooky, while â€œOver and Outâ€ sounds like it could be ripped from the pages of a 70’s troubadourâ€™s notebook.
If thereâ€™s one fault in Natureboyâ€™s style, itâ€™s that the songs are a bit too laid-back. Itâ€™s easy to lose track of where one song ends and another begins. Thatâ€™s great if youâ€™re hanging out and want a bit of ambiance, but I found it difficult to really focus on the lyrics because everything slid by so smoothly and quickly. The players are strong on Natureboyâ€™s debut, and I have no doubt that future output will only continue to build in strength.