If Disturbed Nature's nature isn't quite as disturbed as advertised, it's still a bit unsettled much of the time on Meerkat Parade's second recording, and always in interesting ways. Guitarist David Series has a knack for spinning pieces just a little off-kilter, as is evident from the outset. "Nostalgia" coasts on a slinky zoot-suit-noir groove that would almost be catchy if it wasn't served up with some perversely odd-timed rhythm-skipping. It's in this manner that the offbeat quartet makes everything familiar sound a little alien at the same time.
The same cast remains in place from Meerkat Parade (Self Produced, 2017), and their chemistry is noticeably a step smoother, particularly in how Series and Huw Rees trade unison and counterpoint on guitar and keys. If you've ever wondered what "Drunken Frogs" might sound like, there's a somewhat unexpected answer here: quaintly light-skittering bebop that's too precise to fit the title after all. The title track benefits from a guest sax spot by Martin Kershaw, which makes it feel vaguely like a Blue Note session from an alternate world, while spots like "Let's Go" bounce from simple folk patterns to easy-shuffling lounge jam and back again. Series mixes some familiar and even sometimes old-timey jazz elements alongside his vaguely spacy modern fusion, making a mix suitable for casual cocktails, either here on Earth or somewhere out in space.
Disturbed Nature eventually drifts off with one of its more unsettled moments, a sort of haunted meditation carried by a vaguely spooky fairground organ. For the most part, though, it's not disturbing so much as simply restlessa sign of a group creatively itchy and disinclined to settle into anything too obvious. Even when Meerkat Parade goes straightforward, they still do it their own wayalways true to their own nature, however skewed it might be.
Nostalgia; The Goat; Green; Let go; Disturbed Nature; Open Up; Drunken Frogs; Too Much; Oceans