“[Taking My Shadow dares] you to listen to it without smiling. A dare that you will ultimately lose over and over.”

 Tarek Musa’s new solo venture post-Spring King is exciting and as energetic as his previous band. The four-track strong EP is riveting; each song is intrinsically unique and enjoyable in its own way, almost daring you to listen to it without smiling. A dare you will ultimately lose over and over. Laden with electric funk, ever-so-slightly distorted vocals and quiet, understated drums that add a sense of urgency throughout, it’s a powerful debut offering from Dead Nature. 

“[Fire In Your Soul] is the perfect recipe for an anthemic banger.”

The opening track, Fire In Your Soul, to put it gently, is brilliantly fun. It’s fast-paced, upbeat and catchy: the perfect recipe for an anthemic banger that can traverse the airwaves and infect everyone who listens; euphoric tendrils ensnaring everyone in its jubilant sound. ‘It’s the fire in your soul’, is as relatable a hook as ever there has been, a metaphor for whatever drives you. Music, money, power, passion: the list goes on. Judging by the EP, Musa’s drive is his own creative flame and enjoyment of everything he produces, a tangible, ineffable presence in each track. None more so than In My Heart, the single released to hype up the EP. A little more melancholy perhaps than Fire In Your Soul (it’d be impossible to keep up that energy on every track), though who can blame him in the terrifying, technological-dependant zeitgeist in which he’s writing. It’s an auditory journey into his past, present and future: his anxieties, his ambitions and his flaws. The vocals are a little more desperate and angry, the drums a little more urgent and prominent, the guitar a little louder and a little less lethargic. The track ends up simply as more than it would appear, given its the debut single as Dead Nature.

Unfortunately track three, Pride (Wake Them Up) is slightly underwhelming which could possibly be partly our listeners reaction after hearing what can only be described as two ‘bangers’. Pride… opens as something tense, full of potential conflicts and discord, and resolves into something out of a 70s revival album. It has harmonies, horns, and could probably be played at least partially on a ukulele. It’s an enjoyable song, but a little forgettable in a EP so strong; should music ever just be ‘enjoyable’? It would be wrong to suggest that Musa was channelling his inner critic when he implored ‘let me leave’ in the track. Nothing so dramatic.

Rockwood is the stand-out of on a confident debut EP.”

The most important track to mention, though, is the final track Rockwood. Unlike the preceding three, it’s slow, with an almost War On Drugs esque build-up, and wouldn’t sound out of place over movie credits. The simple, understated piano chords over haunting, atmospheric drums and almost ethereal electronic harmonies creates the image of hopelessness; ‘the only way out is through the valley of pain’ a rather stark reflection of the psyche of a man at the end of it all but pushing through it. As a song, it’s soothing, more than anything. Calming. And it’s the perfect way to finish the EP. The ending of the track, featuring the slow death of a held horn note, adds a nice touch of finality, as well as furthering the joyously bizarre nature of it all. Rockwood is the stand-out of on a confident debut EP.

“[Spring King have disbanded] but Dead Nature proves that just because one moniker might have ended, good music will find a way.”

Tarek Musa was previously known as the singing songwriter in well-known act Spring King which disbanded late last year but Dead Nature proves that just because one moniker might have ended, good music will find a way.

8/10

 Words: James O’ Sullivan

 Out 26th of July

 Dead Nature Records

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