The Nature Strip ranks in the Top 20 sexiest all-male bands that straddle Sydney’s Inner West and beach-loving East. They unite the suburbs not only with their rugged physical appeal (just look at the portraits in the album artwork) but with their swash-buckling, life-loving, tree-hugging poppermost rock music. Their second album Presents, new on China Pig Records in July 2016, is a feast for the senses. There’s stuff to look at, a hard cardboard cover to fondle, some aroma lingering from the industrial process of duplication, but perhaps most importantly, something to hear. Though it looks delicious, please try to refrain from oral gratification with this product.
Unlike the western shirt, trucker-cap wearing ultramen that populate so many 21st century independent bands, The Nature Strip wears no uniform and adheres to no musical genremaster but rather the goddess of melody and the dictates of groove and noise. How else to explain the unity found among the continents of styles here? You would think it would take more than a rowboat to get from the poppy bliss of “Bad” with its primitive synth, to the lo-fi chamber pop of “Beautiful Brain”, or from the breakfast menu of “Cup Of Tea” to the relentless drum machine groove of “Leaving The Lights On” before picking up the banjo of “Deadly By Night”. And yet it is somehow all of a piece. It is all found on The Nature Strip, pop detritus from the new wave era and beyond (XTC, Blondie, Talking Heads, the dB’s, Guided By Voices, Cheap Trick . . . Mental As Anything?) that has been refurbished and repurposed for modern usage.
“Cup Of Tea” and “Dark Matter” have already received some radio attention. Next cabs will be “Shoes” and “Bad”. If you miss one, do try to flag the next. The Nature Strip - singer-songwriters Peter Marley and John Encarnacao, along with percussive hero Jess Ciampa and keyboard professor Matt Langley - is always making return trips.
released July 15, 2016
Tracks 2, 6 and 10 composed by Peter Marley (Control)
Track 7 composed by Peter Marley and James Dixon (Control)
All other tracks composed by John Encarnacao (Mushroom)
Produced by Peter Marley and John Encarnacao.
Recorded by Peter at The Lab, Surfside Studios and Brownsnake Studios, and Peter and John at Malakoff Mansions. Basic tracks for "Take Me Over", "Hippie Dribble", "Shoes", "King Biggie", "Dark Matter", "Deadly By Night" and "The Geeks Or The Fuzz" recorded by Matt Fell and Rebecca Guilhaus at Love Hz.
Mixed by Peter Marley at The Lab and Surfside, except "Cup of Tea" mixed by Michael Carpenter at Love Hz. Mastered by Mitchell Hart.
Front cover image (c) Ruth Maddison - "Christmas holiday with Bob's family, Mermaid Beach, Queensland, 1978", hand-coloured photograph. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Back cover photograph by Paris Mason. Portrait photography (c) 2015 Adrian Cook - adriancookphotography.com
Peter Marley - singing, bass guitar, guitars, keyboards, banjo, programming, percussion, lead guitar on "Shoes".
John Encarnacao - singing, lead guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, Rignold cigar box guitar, drum machine, drums on "Cup Of Tea".
Jess Ciampa - drums, percussion, singing, trumpet on "Beautiful Brain"
Matt Langley - keyboards, bass guitar on "King Biggie".
Rachel Marley - backing vocals on "Bad".
Zoe Carides - backing vocals on "Hippie Dribble".
When Saturday Comes - backing vocals on "Hippie Dribble".
Michael de la Motte - backing vocals on "Shoes".
Steve Fitzmaurice - baritone saxophone on "Cup Of Tea".