The Natural Shocks are an indie rock band from Toronto. They released a full length album last summer and they just released a new EP —Kobayashu Maru— last month. The band formed when Jeff Geady and Jim DeLuca were working together at one of those shiny “new media” places. I’m still not sure that I understand what a “new media” company is. Website consultation? Social media management? I hear about these “new media” firms all the time, and I have only the vaguest notion of what goes on in those places.
Anyway, their bio tells the rest of the story:
they bonded over a mutual disdain for spirituality, and a mutual appreciation for science-fiction novels and imitation seafood. Jeff signed on for the role of “bass player / long-suffering sidekick” and through a mutual friend they were lucky enough to find Andrew Bartle as their drummer.
After the release of their debut album, Complete With Comfortable Lighting, Andrew had to leave for a job in Ottawa, and not wanting to replace Andrew, they decided to go digital.
Out of curiosity, I looked up “Kobayashu Maru”, and I was expecting to find that it’s the name of a legendary Japanese baseball player. Instead, I found out that it’s a bunch of Star Trek. It’s the name of a training test at the Starfleet Academy. It’s also the name of a starship used in that test. It’s also the name of two different Star Trek novels. Yes. These guys are Star Trek geeks. At least Jim is. Although, according to their bio, he doesn’t wear a costume to Star Trek conventions.
Because of the way they treat and add effects to DeLuca’s vocals, I can’t help but think of Kevin Drew and Broken Social Scene. Actually, the drums are kinda BSS-esque, too. There’s no shame in that. It’s rather a good thing in my house to say that something reminds me of Broken Social Scene. By the way, don’t say “BSS-esque” out loud. It’s a bit like “wasps nests”.
Listen for yourself:
Maybe I’m wrong about the “treatment of the vocals” and the “effects”. The credits say that additional vocals are provided by Geady and also by Erin Empey. Still, though. I can’t help but think of BSS.
It’s kind of big and anthemic, and I really like that. It’s thick and rubbery. It’s safe and warm.
I really like those faux strings that are prominent in the first 30 seconds. They still hang around for most of the song, but they’re most noticeable in the intro.
While I’ve been on record as loathing drum machines, I don’t mind at all what The Natural Shocks do with theirs. I almost don’t even notice that it’s not live drumming. Either way, it’s a great song.
You can get Kobayashi Maru from the Natural Shocks bandcamp page here by naming your price. You can also get their full-length album —Complete With Comfortable Lighting— in digital form for free from the bandcamp page here.
As I always do, I’ll remind you that the mailbag is my friend, and it’s yours too. If you’re in a band, or you work for a label or promotions firm, feel free to send me stuff to the digital mailbox — dlee(at)thisisthatsong(dot)com. Contact me there if you want to send me stuff to the physical mailbox. I love CDs and t-shirts. I listen to everything that comes in, but I make no promises that I’ll write about anything.
I really, really prefer submissions that include EPKs or band bios, or at the very least a photo that I can use and an mp3 (or other audio) file that I can have. As much as I love videos, don’t send me a video unless there’s also an audio file. DO NOT send me dropbox files, unless you want me to immediately delete the email.
The mailbag has been one of my favorite parts of running the blog, and I’ve discovered some really amazing stuff because of it.
Keep them coming!