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Thread: Native Invader: your reviews and impressions

  1. #1246
    Senior Member pancakefrompele's Avatar
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    Finally got home after escaping hurricane Irma. I've been waiting to have time to post! I live in South Florida and got stuck in Marietta, GA for a week with a friend's family. I had a chance to listen to this album a couple of times, and I am loving it so far. To be honest it was really interesting hearing this album in a similar landscape that would have inspired Tori. Marietta is full of rolling hills, pine trees, and distant mountains. The sound of this album is terrific in that environment somehow, and "riding out this storm" from Cloud Riders means a lot more to me now. My thoughts below:

    - Reindeer King is just . It's classic Tori: Atmospheric, haunting, and makes me feel introspective. It's one of those songs that takes you to another place, and the icy, cold imagery of the song works perfectly with the music. This is definitely in the top-ranking music of her career for me.

    - Wings --- Not a fan. I like elements of the song, but it simply doesn't flow with the rest of the record for me; it sounds like a holdover from AATS, and her vocals are less than stellar. In her defense, as the song it written it would be difficult to sing for most people, but it's just pushing her upper register too much and sounds a bit shrill for my ears. I love some of the lyrics but ultimately it will be a skipper.

    - Broken Arrow is a grower for sure, but I'm falling in love with this song. The wah-wah guitar was a little startling on the first listen, but I love the mellow 70s vibe; such good road trip music. Would be even better with some herbal stimulation, I think.

    - Cloud Riders is also a grower, but hearing it in the context of the album I'm digging the song more than I did when it first came out. It would not have been my choice for a single to be honest. I don't think it will be a song I come back to on a regular basis, but it works on a full-album listen.

    - Up the Creek is amazing. I love the experimental nature of the song (like others have said it sounds unlike anything else she has done), and I love Tash and Tori's vocals. The programmed drums are a little fake sounding, but it seems intentionally electronic to me. I love the bridge, and the cosmic cowboy line just makes me happy. I just can't get over this song. The energy and the urgency don't feel forced at all. She was inspired with this one and it shows.

    - Breakaway is beautiful. It's still growing on me; it's not overly exciting, but it doesn't feel misplaced on the album. I think it will click with me later.

    - Wildwood is the third best song on the album. The guitar here is perfection, and her vocals are beautiful, especially on the "make it rain" parts. The lyrics are still unfolding for me, but I could listen to this on repeat. I wish the album had more songs like this one.

    - Chocolate Song ---- it's not nearly as offensive as I expected it to be; I honestly quite like it as a bookend to "Wild Way". I'm with others that don't like the lyrics in the chorus... but ultimately I'm not sure about this song. I think I like it, but it should have been a b-side.

    - Bang is the second best song on the album. The lyrics remind me so much of the Scarlet's Walk era, and I'm just blown away by her listing of the elements at the end.

    - Climb. Simply gorgeous. There just aren't words for this one, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorites.

    - Bats is Beauty of Speed's less exciting sister. I like the vibe of the song in the context of the album, but I wish the music were a little more adventurous. The song needs an interesting bridge, some kind of build-up and explosion happening and instead it just meanders.

    - Benjamin... Eh. It's okay. I don't know if I'll fall in love with it, but I do find the "tell me when" parts at the end to be pretty interesting. Seems related to "She's Your Cocaine" with the reverb on her voice. I don't know how I feel about this one. Time will tell... but I do think it works on the album.

    - Mary's Eyes is beautiful. It hasn't clicked with me yet, but I love the music and her vocals are great.

    - Upside Down 2... it's an okay b-side. It's not my favorite, but it seems like a "Snow Cherries" to me. You don't want to hear it all the time, but you're happy when you hear it.

    - Russia... man, this should have been on the album. I think I would have closed it with this song. It's melancholy and moody and ties it more political themes.

    My biggest critiques here are most of the songs lack any kind of "hook." They are too non-linear to be a commercial success. I listened to Scarlet's Walk today on the way back from GA as sort of a comparison because NI deals with similar themes. SW had so many great songs with pop song structure: Sweet Sangria, A Sorta Fairytale, Taxi Ride, etc. NI songs are just so much more complex, which is not necessarily a bad thing but makes it hard to sing along. All that being said, I wish the NI tracklist was longer. I want more songs from this album, especially when looking at my edit below!

    Final Track List:
    - Reindeer King
    - Cloud Riders
    - Up the Creek
    - Breakaway
    - Wildwood
    - Bang
    - Climb
    - Bats
    - Benjamin
    - Mary's Eyes
    - Russia
    Last edited by pancakefrompele; 09-15-2017 at 11:10 PM.

  2. #1247
    Senior Member skyscape's Avatar
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    @pancakefrompele:

    Thank you for such a considered review. I agree with most of your assessments but beware Wings, it may just creep up on you and become a favourite. Your comments about Breakaway are interesting; when I first I heard it, I wanted it to click but it never has. Finally, I have greater love for Upside Down 2 than Russia. Other than these comments, I'm in agreement with your lovely assessment.
    Last edited by skyscape; 09-15-2017 at 11:01 PM.

  3. #1248
    ^^ That's how I feel about Bats too. Beauty of Speed is a much more interesting song because it offers contrasting sections to bounce off each other. Bats just kind of floats along. I do like the lyrics a lot, though, and the "Undine of the Sea" parts are pretty. I'm also getting a little tired of the Maids of Elfen-mere/Holly Ivy and Rose instrumentation.

  4. #1249
    A Matter Of How You See It Kala's Avatar
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    @pancakefrompele:

    I agree about Russia. It should be an A-side because it fits thematically with the album as a whole. I also think it makes sense to have titled it after the record given the stanza: "Time to wake/Activate our Native Invader/Warriors of the Earth/It's getting late now." It works really well as an album closer.

    I also agree about Chocolate Song. It's not a bad tune but it's more of a B-side and I took it off the record.

  5. #1250
    Senior Member ontheindianside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
    I can't put it higher than Venus or SLG. I still think SLG is her most impeccably-produced album. Her voice, the arrangements, the experimental nature of some of the songs, the musicianship (her best studio guitar work?)... even if they're not original songs, they feel that way after she's reinterpreted them.
    Agreed. I'm kind of shocked at how many people say NI is better than Venus! Venus ranks really high for me, but taste aside, it's an objectively better album (better lyrics, more intricate production, better overall guitar and other non-keyboard work). I get someone saying, "I like NI more than Venus," but TVAB is so concise, well produced, well written, and cohesive; while I wouldn't say that NI is not well produced, well written, cohesive, and concise (though it is less so than Venus), I do think it has some minor issues that Venus doesn't have (a few clunky lyrics, less cohesion, wanky guitar in a few places, high highs but lower lows--like, there's nothing I could knock off Venus except maybe GOT80s, but I would feel bad about that; also, I'd play 80s in front of other people, whereas I would not play Chocolate Song in mixed company!).

    I don't know. I mean, it's hard for me to explain why I think Venus is better. I just think there's no question that it is (IMO!). But then I put Venus above Scarlet, so maybe it is just personal preference. To put Venus and SLG in the same tier as TBK, though, feels like blasphemy!

  6. #1251
    Framed and dried. InvisibleBK's Avatar
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    I so enjoy the production on this record. I just absolutely love the fact that on Climb you can actually hear her breaths and saliva as if she were in the room with you. That has been absent on any of her records since SLG. Breakaway also has similar production to SLG, kind of has a similar production to Time. You also get to hear the foot off the pedal and the abrupt cut of the organ a few times. The one that gets me Bats I think, where you get this weird extra tambourine hit a few times after the song has faded. These were always a staple one previous albums, an example being the weird imrpovised synth after Hotel, or even that laugh after Talula. I just find this extra tambourine weird because I figured it was "programmed" tambourine...

  7. #1252
    ancient savageries Andreas's Avatar
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    Haha I don't think every instrument is programmed. In the studio tour on the UG Deluxe version you can see a ton of different instruments laying around. Tori and Mark probably play most of them on the records.

  8. #1253
    HUH! HUP! HYAAAAT! Joey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by menju56 View Post
    I continue to be obsessed with Bats.
    It's the song I always wake up wanting to immediately return to. It's perfect. I think it's finally cemented itself in my Top 5 from the album.

    So, currently:

    Reindeer King
    Climb
    Wildwood
    Bats
    Mary's Eyes

  9. #1254
    thirst world problems Octopussy's Avatar
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    Currently wishing Broken Arrow and Up The Creek had production that would take this album to SLG-level greatness. I'm thoroughly impressed by the sound of Bang, Bats, Wildwood, Chocolate Song, Cloud Riders and all the semi-solo tracks... but the drum machines and guitars in those two hearken back to the Bad Mac days of ADP and AATS. It's still a MINOR complaint and I really enjoy every damn song on here. Even Upside Down 2.

    Edit: Up The Creek layers two different snare sounds on top of each other, but slightly off and it drives me nuts. Also a very dated technique IMO, the kind of thing you hear on '80s albums that mix programming & live drums.
    Last edited by Octopussy; 09-16-2017 at 01:40 PM.

  10. #1255
    By the methane lakes Bloody Grace's Avatar
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    I gave it a listen on Spotify and, while I liked it, it gave me the impression that it's a very complex album and it needs attention, which is something I can't give right now. I'm super tired after a month of intense work, and I need to rest my brain to find some concentration to actually understand the record. Plus, my copy still hasn't arrived and I still haven't heard the bonus tracks.
    The sound is interestingly new and I think I like it.
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  11. #1256
    A Matter Of How You See It Kala's Avatar
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    This album feels a bit like Scarlet's Walk little sister.

  12. #1257
    Senior Member tolotti_'s Avatar
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    For me it's like Scarlet's Walk in space.

  13. #1258
    Let them eat cheese flan Nancy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolotti_ View Post
    For me it's like Scarlet's Walk in space.
    Perfect description!

  14. #1259
    HUH! HUP! HYAAAAT! Joey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolotti_ View Post
    For me it's like Scarlet's Walk in space.
    Yes! And I agree, @Kala!

  15. #1260
    Senior Member skyscape's Avatar
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    Reindeer Kings is heartbreakingly beautiful......but try listening to RK followed by this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjqYV024CdU

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