By Paula Araujo
Is it possible that you got so swept up in the holidays and the festive music that maybe there was a chance some last minute new releases slipped by you? Okay, I’ll admit that this was the case for me. Now with the new year, it’s a great time to catch up on those overlooked tunes. Nat & Alex Wolff’s EP Public Places is the perfect transition from the end of one year into a brand new one.
December 16, 2016 marked the brotherly duo’s first full length release since 2011. Up until now, they released a few stand alone singles in 2014 and even played a few shows while focusing on their acting careers. This record was a long time coming, and very well worth the wait.
In the midst of all the chaos that 2016 has been, this album brings euphonious tranquility. However, with a closer listen, the lyrics give a brutally honest message, and with that comes vulnerability and raw emotion. With just eight songs in under a half hour, the listener is taken on a journey and given a warm welcome into the heart and soul of its creators. It’s an adventure that influences self-reflection and brings out the fresh perspective you’re looking for just in time for 2017.
If you’re familiar with Nat & Alex’s previous work, this EP is a new direction for them. For two guys who grew up in the spotlight, they’ve managed to keep their personal lives private, but this record gives listeners a glimpse into their world. Particular themes that take place are nostalgia, self-discovery, and a plethora of emotions attached to love and heartbreak, which make Public Places their most mature material yet. It is intricately crafted with suave cohesive transitions for each track and a short lyrical story amongst them.
Nat & Alex have always stuck to their roots with their folky-indie vibe, but have also successfully explored other elements. Specifically, stand-out minute long tracks “Joke” and “Silly Games” are soundbites of old videos from their childhood that clearly have a significance to the artists. ”Passing Through” incorporates not only their typical strings and keys sound, but has the addition of horns, too. For long time fans, “Tenderly” is a song that has finally received the studio treatment. The track is the ballad of the record with Nat crooning as the primary vocalist accompanied by an electric guitar.
While the record is rather mellow, tracks such as “Should I See You Again” and “Rollin’ Around” have got some edge to them because of their dark undertones and lyrics. A lyric that stuck out to me was, “I know that you are lying, dear, I can taste it on your tongue. I can hear that you were smiling, dear, when you said your night was fun.”
The music is so vivid that you can picture yourself or any character in the story come to life. Overall, the record seems reminiscent to a musical score for an indie coming of age film soundtrack. Nat & Alex continue to showcase their talents with this EP vocally, lyrically, and as composers. Hopefully with the release of new music, fans can hope for a tour as well.
Stay up to date on Nat & Alex by following them on social media.