Naytronix - Mister Divine

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2015-10-21

Nate Brenner's Naytronix project has released its second album, Mister Divine, and it's quite groovy. The album tends to stick to gentle musing and nostalgia, yet simultaneously, Brenner's willingness to experiment puts him the company of such elites as Beck, with his grab-bag-that-works mentality. Every song has a distinct personality, while maintaining an overall stylistic cohesion, even as he combined elements of folk, funk, and electronic, among other things.

The title track is lovely, a smooth, floaty track that feels out of an AM Gold compilation from the late 70s. Mellow guitar strums drift over gently brushed cymbals and hollowed-out background beats. The song is just pure lazy Sunday afternoon goodness. It's followed up by the quirky 'Starting Over', where Brenner adds a weird metallic echo to his voice (an effect he uses throughout the set) that vibrates along with the bass, backed by start-stop percussion and quiet, funky guitars. Half a dozen instruments take turns controlling the melody, and the fluttery horn breakdowns add a lot of flavor to the song as well.

Brenner changes things up again with 'Dream', which sounds like it has a 6/4 time signature. His voice and the bass bounce along across the machined drums, making it impossible not to nod in time with the beat. 'Back in Time' starts out a little unfocused, but the chorus and pre-chorus both have great little hooks that'll have anyone singing along, while the guitars are almost reggae-like with their plucked simplicity. 'The Wall' leads with a bunch of 70s style background horns over more jazzy percussion. Distorted, wailing, but not overly loud guitars pair nicely with funkier ones, illustrating again Brenner's interest in crashing styles against each other.

'I Don't Remember' takes things in a summertime party direction, with sweet little guitar plucks over a muted hip hop hand clap and little electronic noodlings. Brenner's voice charms once more with rose-colored reminiscences about love. 'The Future' switches back to the clicks and clatters, leading to a very basic song mostly comprising the percussion and Brenner's voice, with only ocassional splashes of guitar and keyboard here and there.

The album's only possible misstep is 'Living in a Magazine', which gets a little too vague for its own good. The cohesive efforts of previous tracks are dispensed with as it slips into a very spacey reverie which only partially works. It's not a bad song, but it struggles to match the rest of the set. But the album totallly redeems itself on the last track, 'Shadow', which is pure fun. It has a great hook that might just be a Ukelele, fast-paced, street beat percussion, and a few really nice electronic flourishes. There's also a hilarious sax strategically placed in the center of the song that never fails to make me chuckle. It's the kind of song whose appeal very few could deny, and ends the album on a great, upbeat note, compelling another immediate go round.

Naytronix has delivered up quite a great little work here, with a lot of a clever ideas and experimentation that somehow manage to stay true to an over-arching aesthetic. None of the songs feel particularly big or complicated. Instead, they each feel small, but finely crafted and with much love. You get the feeling there's a deep wellspring of creativity here, one that has only just begun to be drawn upon. I eagerly look forward to what else Brenner can come up with going forward, as it's clear he's just getting started.

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