With most teenagers creating either weepy, woe-is-me singer songwriter material or pop-punk music of some sort, it’s easy to see why the debut trio of Our Brother The Native might prick up the ears of people. Consisting of two fellows barely old enough to drive and another just able to vote, the young trio throws all conventions of their age group out the window and have created something that sounds something like Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished/ Danse Manitee era Animal Collective.
Running seemingly everything they play (except for maybe the field recordings) through some sort of filter, Tooth And Claw is a twelve track album of swirling sounds that only really comes together in a couple places to form what sound like actual songs. The opening tracks of the release “Welcome To The Aviary” and “Apodiformes” both mix squiggly blips of electronics, hand percussion, and filtered vocals along with field recordings, with the latter actually coming together for a couple folky lines before fracturing again.
From there, they trio goes off into completely heady territory for quite some time, with plenty of breathy harmonized vocals, some hand-claps, and some circuit-bent toy glitches. Once in awhile, a solid guitar progression enters the mix, and about halfway through the album, the group stumbles upon what might be their best song in “Tilia Petiolaris.” On the track, they back off from their weirdness a bit, and the quiet and reflective track actually works quite well, augmented by quieter shuffling percussion, plucked guitar, and drifting electronic tones that give it a warm campfire sing-along vibe.
From there out, the album loses its way a bit again, but comes back together for the long, but effective “Octopodidae,” where the trio mixes a field recording of a preacher with oddly filtered vocals, some filtered strings, and acoustic guitar for something quite effective. While the release does have some interesting moments, there are lots of moments where Tooth And Claw comes across more as a watered-down copy to the aforementioned Animal Collective than something unique and original. Considering the group is so young and their influences are obviously already rather unique, here’s hoping they run with their own sound a little more in the future.