A beautiful and earthy fresh start
Frontman Kip Berman sings about life’s transformations in his debut solo album Tethers. After many years of being the frontman for the band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (TPOBPAT), their disbandment left Berman a bit lost. Realizing that he still wanted to continue to make music, Berman gathered all his newfound growth in life and created his first solo album, Tethers, under the name The Natvral with Kanine Records.
Growing up in Philadelphia, then moving to Portland, Oregon and playing in several different bands, Berman found himself writing songs about young life and all the ups and downs of growing up. After the disbandment of TPOBPAT, Berman realized he wanted to continue making music. But seeing that his life had matured and his musical sound had also shifted, he decided to take a new path. Setting course to create a new album, Berman Created The Natval, and within seven days, Tethers was created and produced with Andy Savors. The album leaves behind the alternative punk sound he was commonly known for in TPOBPAT, and Berman adopted a more Bob Dylan folk sound, giving the album an earthy American feel.
The highlighted first single off the album is “Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?.” The song kicks the album off with a boisterous, thick power chord guitar progression, crashing drums and Dylan-style vocals. It is an upbeat song that sings about growing older and losing the stamina to chase the sunrise while reminiscing about past moments. Throughout the song, the howling church organ can be heard pulsing, which gives the song an Americana texture.
Keeping the same hard strum guitar and cymbal-heavy drums, “Sun Blisters” slows down the tempo a bit and brings in a touch of vulnerability. While it may feel like a fun summertime folk song, lyrically, it sings of the darker parts of life talking about watching loved ones who may be sick. As the song broke down at the bridge confessing, “in the end maybe I was wrong/ laughing where all the tears belong,” and like the guitar, drums and organ rushing in, it amplifies the anger and repentance.
A song titled “New Year’s Night” may offer the thought of new and fresh starts, but this one is the opposite message. The high-energy track blares in with Berman’s vocals carrying an old tape distorted effect that sings of “another false start.” It truly is an upbeat way to break up or simply break the news that “Nora, I’m not for you.”
Stripping everything down to the bare essentials, “Sylvia, the Cup of Youth” is a beautiful song that features a simple yet heavy strummed, overdriven guitar and a ‘60s Dylan distorted vocal. Truly this song is a perfect blend of rock and Americana folk with an earthy texture that sings of a person that forever drifts looking for their youth. Deep within the lines tells a short story of two star-crossed lovers that always reached for each other but somehow are never able to connect. There are a deep vulnerability and longing within Berman’s vocals. As the song takes its ups and downs, the feelings of longing and wonder can be truly felt, deep in his vocals.
Stepping out on his own, The Natvral delivers with his debut solo album Tethers. It is a totally new sound that carries notes of folk, Americana and rock, with a Bob Dylan resemblance. It is an earthy album that gives fans a glimpse into a mind that has grown through time and experiences.