published: 14 /
In his ‘Under the Radar’ column Keith How finds that ‘On the Blink’, a new set of songs from South Wales psychedelic mystic Nathan Hall is both inventive and pleasing, and makes vintage yet modern folk pop music.
Is all well in South Wales is a question that often passes the lips of those lovers of strange and whimsical sounds. Mostly they are thinking about what is going on in the head of Soft Hearted Scientists’ frontman Nathan Hall who, while the Scientists are on hiatus (or lockdown), has been moonlighting as Nathan Hall and the Sinister Locals. The prolific Hall has a fertile imagination that fuels this new album created during his lockdown times.
In keeping with his usual ways of working this is a double album consisting of a massive 22 songs, although some are short musical intervals. Most songs in keeping with his 60’s fixation are three and four minutes long.
As we have come to expect this is another ‘60’s influenced offering full of sunshine pop, joy weirdness and hints of sadness and wonder. Hall is really an undiscovered genius. I don’t think that is too strong a description, as he recounts tales of elephants, bees, the natural world and, of course, his frustration with the madness of the modern world.
Hall says that 2020 was an absolute swine of a year and ‘On the Blink’ is his personal response. This is not a dark and moody work though. He says it is two fingers to a ghastly year. There is much to enjoy among the shimmering guitars , drones and sparkling hook laden tunes. ‘On the Blink’ should not be labeled another attempt at retro, Hall is far too clever for such a slight. Mixing folk, and pop with swirling organ riffs and both electric and acoustic guitars and “lockdown calamity crash course bass guitar” Hall plays everything on the album. You could be listening to Peter and Gordon one moment, then Kevin Ayers, ‘Ram’- era McCartney or Trees as such is the breadth on this album.
Stand out tracks for me are ‘Bumbling Bee’, ‘The Sea is in the Trees’ and ‘Stand and Deliver’.
Another fine set of songs full of twists and turns that grows on you as you listen from one of Cardiff’s best that deserves your attention.
Play in YouTube:-