by / September 11th, 2008 /

Natty – Man Like I

 3/5 Rating

(Atlantic UK)

If an album fusing the musical stylings of Bob Marley and Jack Johnson sounds appealing, you’ll appreciate this debut offering from Natty. You may think that Natty penned most of the songs on Man Like I while living in some tropical paradise, as his defining sound is laid-back acoustic reggae-soul. On closer inspection of these summery tunes, indie influences reveal themselves and it is apparent Natty is a product of his London upbringing.

This so-called street philosopher takes on board that age old adage of writing about what you know. His lyrics tell tales of everyday urban life with astute observations and social commentary on inner-city issues, ranging from gang mentality to race divisions. Yes, Natty is a man with something to say.

Songs like ‘Cold Town’ and ‘Coloured Souls’ are charged with political messages while ‘Stoned on You’ and ‘She Loves Me’ reflect a more sensitive side. Natty, a former indie-band engineer, first gained a following at open mic nights. Not surprisingly, Bob Marley was a major influence musically and, evident by his “yoof-speak” style, so too are his fellow Londoner mates like Kate Nash.

The relaxed acoustic sound is seriously easy listening – especially on tracks like ‘July’. Like the song of the same title by our own Mundy, ‘July’ celebrates all the wonderful summer glory that this month has to offer.

An endearing and likable debut with some shrewd analysis of city life but Natty’s sound, like the aforementioned Jack Johnson’s, quickly becomes too familiar and leaves us desperate for something more.

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Natty – ‘July’

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