'Deeper Into Reality' - 11 track album, featuring the lead single
'Stop Doing Nothing'
- Released February 14th 2011 on Platform Records.
At a time when the electronic genre has come to the fore of popular music, it is rare to find an album that takes as many risks and succeeds with such aplomb as Natasha England’s new album Deeper Into Reality. Natasha’s rich and illustrious musical background makes this album all the more interesting to listen to. After successfully cracking the UK top 10 with her single Iko Iko and the 80’s pop classic L.P Captured, Natasha immersed herself in the writing and recording of new material.
Following her collaboration with many industry notables, England came across Robert Logan - a producer and performer who skillfully reworked Natasha’s ‘Iko’ hit for a 2007 re-release, and has also worked with acts such as Faithless, Siobhan Donaghy of Sugababes and Grace Jones who he supported at the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall amongst others. The result of this collaboration is an intelligent, cutting edge electropop record that is bound to have you wanting to listen over and over again. A wonderfully innovative and creative album that draws on many different musical genres to create a truly great and original listening experience.
The immediate thing which stands out to the listener is that the music so effectively merges classic synth-pop with new found electro beats and sounds. An incredibly direct, punchy album in places, yet delicately ambiental, this seems to create a perfect balance between the vocals and instrumentation, particularly evident on the track Life’s For The Living. The album also has a wonderfully haunting quality, with reverb on both vocals and keys used to quite stunning effect, outlining Logan’s wizard- like production. Lead single Stop Doing Nothing is a lyrically fascinating song on the perils of idleness. Powerful and evocative in the mould of a slow dance track, its memorable hook with electronically tweaked steel drums gives the track a beautiful vibe. The Passion is another of the albums real stand out tracks, merging a club-style tubby bass line with a more traditional electro hook not out of place on any Boys Noize or Erol Alkan track. Natasha England’s haunting vocal gives the track a great edge. Title track Deeper Into Reality ups the BPM to rave status whilst never betraying that retro feel in the vocals. This cut also brings together a great Dubstep style bass with a semi-Soca beat that really gets you moving wherever you’re listening.
Natasha England and Robert Logan, who together wrote 10 of the 11 tracks, have created an album packed with musical gems which are lyrically fascinating to listen to and slickly produced. Throughout Deeper Into Reality there are risks being taken, but with the musical pedigree and background of both England and Logan it is no surprise to see that the results produce an album which is sure to push the boundaries of electro synth a little further. (Mark McDermott)
Natasha England may already be a familiar name to some readers, having already had a top 10 single in the form of 'Iko Iko' in 1982.
Nearly thirty years on and Natasha is making a return with some ambient electronica.
'Stop Doing Nothing' sounds like Hayley Bennett's alter-ego Cora Corman from Music and Lyrics, with an exotic beat and eerie waves of instrumentation.
The vocals whirl in 'Darkside', which has ominous cello-esque tones with echoing mid-range notes. The vocal is hypnotic in this song, which feels a lot like a soundtrack to an avant garde thriller.
'Come' continues in a similar vein, although it has a more substantial beat behind the swirling electronica.
Final track, 'Remember Me' is a dream-like carillon that spins around and around with a gentle voice gently laid on top of the warm bell-like tones.
This record has some good moments, although I would personally like to hear some remixes that feature more of a dance beat. Importantly, the character of the songs and the vocal itself are both very strong.
Most notably commercially known from hitting the UK Top Ten in 1982 with a cover of Iko Iko, Natasha England returns to the spotlight after spending the past few decades behind the scenes writing and recording.
Having worked with Robert Logan to revamp and remaster her famous smash hit for a 2007 release, England again teams up with the producer/performer for this cutting electro-pop record that sounds as if it has been teleported straight from the decade of shoulder pads, scrunchies and happy pants. At the moment electronic-laced music is favoured within the Charts, so England should find no problem in gaining an instant new fan base with her ethereal vocals backed to a heavy new wave beat. With an alternative underground sound, 'Stop Doing Nothing' appeases all things brilliantly wicked.
Jenness Mitchell (3 stars)
It's a couple of years now since eighties popster Natasha England reworked and reissued her big hit 'Iko Iko'. And now she's teamed up with remixer Robert Logan for an entire album of new material. This sampler highlights four of the tracks from that release, and it's pretty darn good.
Of course it helps that the eighties have been back in vogue for a wee while now, so this electro flavoured material sounds surprisingly current. There's lots of beats and swooshes to keep the kiddywinks happy, and enough nods back to the olden days for the more mature listener to enjoy. And with events like Rewind packing out theatres across the land, there's no reason why this new material won't find an audience.
As synthpop goes, this is first division material with the single, 'Stop Doing Nothing' a hook filled treat. The other tracks are no slouches either with 'Darkside', ''Come' and 'Remember Me' all being worthy of a listen. With no duds on offer, the mix of electro, synthpop, harder dance tunes and pop melodies is well worth a listen.
It’s difficult to accurately place the sound of this single. On the one hand there is a hint of the 80’s about it – England’s vocals are little reminiscent of Annie Lennox and at times verge a little on the melodramatic. But there’s also a hard underbelly to the four tracks on offer here. Strangely I’d suggest that the ‘lead’ single is the weakest, the best song being ‘Come’ as it most successfully avoids too many nods to the past and most successfully mixes up England’s ethereal vocal quality with a contemporary hard edged electro. 7/10
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have a collection of new Natasha England songs, something many of us have been waiting to hear since the excellent compilation of Natasha’s 80's recordings,‘Back From the Mists of Time, was issued a couple of years ago. That collection of songs served as a reminder that Natasha was not only one of our best singers, but also a songwriter who was never quite given the acclaim she deserved. Few who remember 'Top of the Pops' from those days will forget seeing Natasha perform on the show but maybe, looking back, her cover of ‘Iko Iko’, which is the song that she was best known for, didn’t help her career in the long run. Natasha was very much an innovator and she has survived in this business a lot longer than most still without the recognition she warrants.
Surely with the release of ‘Deeper Into Reality’ Natasha will attract a new, young audience without alienating the fans who have been with her since the eighties. A major part of Natasha’s music has always been firmly in the electropop genre. While there are indeed various sides to her music in many ways Natasha has been a pioneer when it comes to synth-pop. The passing years have seen Natasha, now with the assistance of producer/songwriter Robert Logan, add a darker edge to her take on this genre and in doing so she has opened up a completely new era in her musical career.
The eleven songs here are all Natasha England originals, ten written with producer Logan and although the lead-off single, ‘Stop Doing Nothing’ is a stunning display of both of their talents it’s by far not the only song on the album worthy of being singled out. It’s an extremely catchy electro synth soundscape, which moves at an almost deadly pace and where Logan shows his skills with various tweaks and effects. Lyrically it’s strong as well dealing with the lethargy that surrounds us and as a whole it’s a remarkable, affecting piece of music.
Natasha and Logan have really pushed boundaries on this album, rather than take the easy route, which both artists are extremely capable of, and recording lightweight but catchy pop songs that would appeal to a much wider audience than the original sounds and textures that they have moulded into the innovative pieces that make up ‘Deeper Into Reality’. They have created a satisfying album for both the artists and listeners that consists of songs that really do throw up new surprises and sounds every time you play them. It reminds me of Depeche Mode at times, not always in the songs but in the way that both that band and Natasha started out playing pleasant synth-pop and over the years their music has developed and matured with the artist and their fan base. While not abandoning their electronic roots Depeche Mode have nurtured a darker, more adult sound to their material through the years and Natasha, along with Logan, has certainly taken a similar route.
Those who have heard little of Natasha’s work since the ‘Iko Iko’ days will no doubt have problems believing that a song as complex as ‘The Passion’ was written and performed by that same artist they witnessed brightening our television screens all those years ago. In many ways it feels like a natural progression that Natasha is making music that reflects her past achievements, while creating a sound that is more adult-orientated than anything she has recorded in the past. But these songs really are more than we had a right to expect even from an artist of Natasha’s calibre. The title track, ‘Deeper Into Reality’, is an outstanding song with Natasha’s treated vocals weaving in and out of the atmospheric wave of sound that Logan conjures up. Again there is this feeling of the duo not forsaking their musical roots but presenting them in a fresh, exciting and creative way.
Many music fans were more than happy to finally have Natasha’s back catalogue complied so thoughtfully and respectfully on CD with the release of ‘Back From The Mists Of Time’, but it’s not just Natasha’s legion of fans who should check out ‘Deeper Into Reality’. There’s a whole new generation of music lovers out there who have yet to discover what a great talent Natasha England is and ‘Deeper Into Reality’ is where they should start. It’s a very contemporary sounding album and even though it would sound great in a club Natasha proves that she can still reduce grown men to quivering wrecks with the intimacy of her vocals on the closing song, ‘Remember Me (Waterfall)’ which also proves that she has lost none of the passion she has always displayed vocally.
Not only is Natasha England back, but she’s back with arguably the best album of her career to date.
Alanis Morissete blindsided by the dark undertones of PJ. Harvey, is the initial impression given off by Natasha England, ’Darkside’. Mood implanting backing digitalism takes on a low-key and mildly harrowing stance, sitting off England’s delivery of her troubled by love lyrics. Only two tracks into this explorative electronic album and England ably assisted by the adept production of Logan, switches the tempo by adding a soulful glide and some muffled vocal distortion. Imparting shades of grey to an otherwise black and white tale of love’s ability to set you free, ‘Come’. The album then slows down and a vocal strain instils heart and longing, ‘Strange’.
A creeping, fuller bodied, yet lower key electronic steer creeps into ‘Stop Doing Nothing’, to add a more thoughtful and reflective vein to this moody full-length. England has an ability to impart her own mood into a song, almost independent from the instrumental, but still she manages to keep the songs even. This aids her ability to switch from pop to straight out electro without it appearing too laboured. ‘How Do You Like It?’ , is a rustling slow electro tilted, political nettle grasping epic, showing that electro can be slowed down to chilling effect in order to communicate your bemusement:
“There’s a young boy lying by the side of the road, an old man dying alone and cold.
A family starving on the other side: a world of corruption nothing but lies.”
‘The Passion’, ups the tempo and a jungle bound is kicked into the percussion and electro slant, as the vocals take on a more distanced stance to filter in a more ambient lag. It makes the song harrowing, yet compelling and the mood ranging really starts to take effect as the album heads towards its conclusion. England and Logan show that an electro album can contain mood building epics without them feeling too forced or fake. (DAVE ADAIR)