Modern Nature - 'How To Live'

7/10

Emerging from the wreckage of his former group Ultimate Painting, which disbanded last year, songwriter Jack Cooper has always been one to find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. While Ultimate Painting was a tribute to Drop City, a community of countercultural artists in Colorado during the 1960s, the name Modern Nature has been lifted from filmmaker Derek Jarman’s diaries, which he wrote in a cottage fixed on the coast of Kent. And given the scenic and poignant imagery summed up in those original stories, the frontman has looked to deliver much of the same whimsy on his new band's debut album 'How To Live', which sees him blend earnest songwriting with an experimental edge.

Much like similar artists such as Gruff Rhys and Public Service Broadcasting, who also find influences by digging through the cultural significance of their personal surroundings, Modern Nature looks to focus its sound on the ethereal atmosphere around each of its chosen inspirations. Mixing up a variety of diverse instrumentation including cellos, synthesisers and saxophones, the group look to skirt the edges of a psychedelic intention, never quite giving into their warped sensibilities and channelling the sombre and haunting tone of Radiohead and Elbow in the process.

The result is this heady mix of ideas that sees the group deliver a strong and imaginative initial offering which allows Cooper to step away from the expectations of his past and explore an interesting and captivating new path. Modern Nature may have only just begun, and this new album feels like there is plenty of places to go for the emerging outfit.

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