Is Tropical – Native To
Review by Jack Foley
IS TROPICAL have been generating publicity (some good, some bad) for themselves since 2010, when good reviews surrounding their single releases was balanced by split opinions over their decision not to show their faces.
But while the latter continues to divide opinion, Is Tropical will ultimately be judged on the quality off their music and on the evidence of Native To it’s likely to be mostly favourable.
Produced by the band together with Jimmy Robertson and part-Mixed by Lifelike, Native To manages to combine raw dream-pop anthems with late night dance bangers. And, if we’re being honest, it pulls off the former better than the latter.
The first half of the album is particularly bright, as former single South Pacific sets the ball rolling in exemplary fashion with a dream-pop anthem of very high quality. Cute beats trade places with euphoric, ‘80s leaning synths and a dreamy set of vocals to ensure this quickly gets into your subconscious and refuses to budge.
It’s followed by the equally appealing Land of the Nod, an effervescent late night track if ever there was one, which also leans towards an ‘80s retro sound, as well as a kooky positivity.
Lies contains some spectral synths, weaved around more ‘80s nods, and has deservedly become a crowd favourite, while The Greeks contains one of the best electronic hooks the album has to offer and is the best of the dance bangers the album has to offer. It’s energy is irresistible after a few listens.
Elsewhere, the difference between the styles is never more apparent than in the ‘failure’ of What??? to really capture the imagination as a banger, while Clouds offers a successfully trippy re-entry into upbeat dream-pop.
Take My Chances emerged as another catchy favourite, especially thanks to some smart guitar work, and Think We’re Alone also satisfied with its apparent guitar nods to INXS mixed with Passion Pit.
But thereafter the album fails to really deliver, with the edgy Zombie re-entering banger territory and tending to get on your nerves, and Seasick Mutiny also laying down some more insistent beats and a woozy synth riff that quickly becomes annoying.
Is Tropical’s Native To is therefore a mixed bag, but one that’s certainly worth checking out in places.
Download picks: South Pacific, The Greeks, Land of the Nod, Take My Chances, Think We’re Alone