Nathan Butler is one talented dude. He not only is the songwriter for the band Shiny Shiny Black but also plays lead guitar, drums and he sings. It doesn't stop there he also engineered, mixed and produced their recent release entitled Travelers. I know what you're thinking “A lot of records are DIY efforts these days.” True, but only a very, very low percentage sounds like they were recorded by a handful of skillful engineers. The first thing I thought to myself while cranking some of the tunes was that Travelers is a great example of how a rock record should sound. The guitar has a meaty mid-range without any harsh frequencies. The kick drum and bass create a round, defined low end and the vocals cut through the mix.
At its core Travelers is an eclectic twelve-song album that delivered in an easy digestible pop format. The songs on this album stick to tried and true formulas that almost always sound good. Butler doesn't go down an experimental path here but rather delivers songs that manifest with an immediate visceral reaction.
The album open up with a very catchy rock song called “Look Me In The Eyes.” Butler combines distorted guitars, drums and bass to create a warm canvas for him to sing over. There really isn't too much to say about this song other than it is a well written rock song.
“Six Shooter” is a gritty song with plenty of breakdowns and build ups to create one of the most dynamic songs on the album. Butler switches thing up on “Heaven Only Knows.” He turns off the distortion pedal and creates an emotional resonant song that contains one of his most inspired vocal performances. HIs voice sounded good against the warm organ and banjo. Another welcome deviation is “Lady of the Harbor,” which weaves in a Celtic twist. In introduces more strings as well as exceptional snare work.
“Like A Star” is the most melancholy song on the album that slowly sprawls out of your speakers while “Love Like That” is an upbeat, dance-worthy number.
The album closes with “The Prisoner,” which is arguably the highlight of the album. It is certainly a heartfelt song that progressively builds with intensity. Don’t miss this one.
Travelers is a fluid and enjoyable album that will appeal to a wide audience. Highly recommended.
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