Natural Habitat aka Manuel Garcia is a young artist who is showing some potential with his recent release The Heart of Hearing. Garcia may not be old enough to legally buy alcohol yet but nonetheless is showing some sophistication and creative prowess that you wouldn't expect from someone so young. The songs on The Heart of Hearing are simple, revolving around a couple of guitars and vocals. Some of it sounds like The Strokes minus the bass and drums that combines with a chilled out beach vibe.
Garcia feels like a work in progress with his singing. He doesn’t deliver every note on key and could also work on his inflection. That being said, he is a decent singer at this point and his voice works well with the music. Some additional reverb as well as other production techniques in post could have smoothed some of this out.
The EP opens with “Clueless” which revolves around two reverb-laced guitars. One sticks to the rhythm while the other takes on the lead. Garcia has some melancholy in his voice as he sings, “close your eyes and open your mind close your mouth cause the words won’t stop spilling out.” The song isn’t exactly upbeat or that catchy but it redeems itself with mood and atmosphere.
‘Last Year” contains the same elements as the first song but is arguably the best vocal performance by Garcia. He lightly touches upon themes of loss and apprehension. Garcia sings. “I was afraid to go home last year cause i couldn’t believe what had came over me my eyes turned green and my hair turned grey these changes i though really came a lot.”
Do you notice the similarities to The Strokes on “Drownin?” It reminded me of the song “Someday.” The song is upbeat yet it really feels like it needs bass and percussion. He closes with a “Camera Man” which is another solid effort from Garcia.
Garcia still has some way to go to be able to hang with the heavyweights but luckily he has tons of time to do so. I’m sure if Garcia sticks to it we will see him progressing as an artist.
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