Album Review: Native To - Is Tropical

I've been following Is Tropical since before they were featured on Kitsuné Maison Ten and signed to the Kitsuné label - they feel a bit like a sun bleached, tie-dyed take on the nu rave sound of the Klaxons. It was single 'South Pacific' that really caught my attention however and as such it's a pretty appropriate album opener here, a contradictorily epic shoe-gazing anthem it recalls holidays, the seaside and hope.

The only problem with opening the album on 'South Pacific' is that it gives the rest of the set a lot to live up to. It's a task Is Tropical step up to with a relatively admiral aplomb but never fully address. Native To is short, at just 36 minutes, and therefore has no real problems with overstaying it's welcome but it also struggles to leave a lasting idea within that time. In comparison to 'South Pacific' the majority of the album is considerably more electronic and danceable. 'Land of the Nod' has a thick, warm baseline that splatters things with Is Tropical's trademark colourful sunshine whilst 'The Greeks' hums along, fuzzy and chunky.

But the music is best when rebellious and surrounded by space - 'What ???', with it's rapid fire vocals a soaring chorus ("Temptation to be good”, they sing) is the track that gets them closest to the wonderment of 'South Pacific' and 'Berlin' sounds suitably starry eyed and overwhelmed.

Native To definitely feels like a debut effort - it's a little rough around the edges and content to figure out what it is as it goes along. And sometimes I like that. Whilst Is Tropical are unlikely to top any album-of-the-year lists this certainly cements them as ones to watch. And maybe that is the point - final track 'Think We're Alone' pulls the plug seemingly abruptly, almost like the band are determined to head off before you hear too much of what might be coming next.

BP x

Native To is out now on Kitsuné, available from on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].