New Latitude returns with Nature of Things – a brand-new, five-song EP of delicate, jazzy, subtly rocking acoustic tracks. If you’re an Ark of Music regular, you’ve seen previous (and glowing) reviews of this very capable quintet. And, like before, New Latitude is creating clean, clever, and well-produced instrumentals deftly weaving together several musical styles. Ready for another calming, acoustic journey? Let’s dive in:
“Led to Believe” is the perfect mellow starter – underneath, muted guitar arpeggios support melodic notes above. Soon, we reach softly strummed chords and some expressive, jazzy notes, leading us back to those muted arpeggios. The energy increases, and doubled melodic notes convey more discernible feelings. It ends abruptly, but on a somewhat reassuring note.
“Invisible Frame” opens with sunny chords, and rolls right into arpeggios beneath a leading, melodic guitar duet (which happens a lot here, considering New Latitude boasts two incredibly capable guitarists in Dave Erickson and Jim Carr). At about 2:34, the song makes a nice chordal change to something more anxious – something emoting mild desperation, or a brief (but not insurmountable) obstacle. The song ends on those same sunny chords, and then a final, more positively ringing chord offering a small, glinting promise.
After the intro, track #3, “Tribute,” reminds me of “Hallelujah.” Well, for a few bars, anyway. And when it changes, it seems almost classical (with an apparent layering of several guitars and a softly stated cello (tastefully added by bandmate Steven Schumann).
The band named track four “Circumstances Have Changed,” and musically, I couldn’t agree more. This song immediately makes a statement with more urgent strumming, a faster tempo, and the addition of drums. There’s some nice fingerwork here, some quick, tight musical turns, and New Latitude’s dependably sunny chords. And when it ends? It’s like a powering down; measured at first, and then almost sputtering out, but with clean notes drizzled in brief sustain. Writer’s note: Here, the upright bass enters the forefront, briefly, and fuels the album’s more driving track. (Perhaps this is handled adroitly by Bob Strickland or Kim Stone. Whoever it is, it’s perfect here, and used with respect to melody throughout the entire EP.)
Nature of Things ends with “Softer Than Silence,” which opens with….wind? Perhaps it’s a cymbal roll (as it appears several times throughout the song). This one is evidently more melancholic, as the song starts with lower, richer notes before stretching into the glistening higher tones. And the final chord, accompanied by one more wind gust, is beautiful, but emotes a question or hesitancy; a longing that, although punctuating a musical ending, leaves the unfinished emotion hanging for a future, hopefully composed resolution.
Nature of Things is easy to listen to – to imagine with. It takes you places, and leaves you longing, and perhaps stranded, purposely so, at that final destination. New Latitude has once again displayed their mastery of subtle power and musical finesse, and we absolutely recommend you listen to this several times. And then again, because it has so much more to give. Recommended.
BELOW: Listen to New Latitude and check them out on Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Facebook. Please support New Latitude by visiting their website, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music.
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