Artist: Listen, Natalia
Listen, Natalia's Damn Sure EP marks the advent of Deathpact Bogart's visceral brand of catharsis. With production ever suiting the mood, Bogart spews vitriol in harsh missives worthy of those betraying him. This is the first time I've used the "folk-punk" descriptive: It's just the rare event that has a simple acoustic progression rendered extraneous by such attitudinal sneer.
With a voice reminiscent of Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano, Bogart is a poet first, blending streams of consciousness in rhythm with rhyme. Packing more words into internal/line-ending rhyme schemes than most rappers do, Bogart is something to behold, tying together in a single breath: "Write about the future, sutured perfect punctured heart, sealing every single ounce of my wisdom in a note, then fuckin' tear it up" ("Method Malfunction"). We get welcome variety in the form of doubled and harmony vocals -- additional orchestration would be out of place in the narrators' claustrophobic minds.
The subject matter ranges from the direct, "You're all dogs without the leashes" ("Damn Sure"), to the self-directed, "I wish I thought much clearer" ("Are You Left Out?"); and from frustration with futility, "What's the point of life, if it's just a fast road to our failures" ("Blue Prints Red"), to how we often deal with it, "A perfect sunset with a bowl, a certain true best friend...Inhale and take in every single thing....Some timeless wishlist, fucking torn up, fucking torn up" ("Living in My Chest").
On the EP's title track, our humble narrator cops to the "waterfall of sweet surrender." With this collection, Deathpact Bogart is surrendering, not to others, but to his own release. Whether the exercise is ultimately "sweet" for him, of course it comes across as anything but; still, it never ceases to amaze with the virtuosity of Bogart's wordplay and the originality of Listen, Natalia's folk-punk.
*** The author of this review, Joshua Mitchell, plays the tumbadura for the following band: http://youtu.be/tMS73-1kCr8