Release Date: Jun 13, 2011
Record label: Cooperative Music
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
This time last year Is Tropical were hot property. In fact scrap that. Rewind to the end of 2009 and even then the mysterious, mask-wearing London trio were starting to carve out a presence on the blogosphere. But fast forward to mid-2011 and the hype has quietened down, despite a steady stream of tracks having been released onto the web.
Veering between sedated, Klaxons-lite oddball electro numbers (‘The Greeks’), a particular strain of Larrikin Love-esque English eccentricity (‘Clouds’) and the shiny pop sensibilities of Mystery Jets (‘Take My Chances’), Is Tropical’s debut proves itself to be a loveable if a little dated affair. “Any idiot knows that simplicity wins”, intones the aforementioned ‘Take My Chances’ and it’s in the trio’s uncomplicated way with a hummable hook that makes for their greatest strength. But, though Gary Barber’s half-spoken, oh-so-London urchin coo brings a little quirk to proceedings, for the most part ‘Native To’ is a pleasant but not memorable listen.
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Not all debuts are groundbreaking. Some, like British trio Is Tropical‘s Native To, are a pleasant prelude for things to come. Their brand of infectious electronic rock made quite the buzz overseas prior to this stateside debut, thanks in part to Kitsune compilation appearances and opening for a string of European dates with the Klaxons. Native To is an exploration of Is Tropical’s promising capabilities.
A hugely entertaining dance-rock romp. Si Hawkins 2011 Masks are definitely the way forward in modern rock and pop. They offer a useful air of mystery (see Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife/Fever Ray), and are also useful for snazzy nightclub cameos in major sci-fi movies – (Daft Punk, in Tron: Legacy). While for younger outfits masks will also cover any unsightly blemishes resulting from your hectic late-night rock‘n’roll lifestyle – shades just don’t go far enough.