One cannot stretch a balloon into a nail OR morph a turkey into a television. By that logic, one can’t adequately tie a bow around Mr. Ian Teeple’s oeuvre, be it as guitar bubbler in WARM BODIES or as the outer realm conduit Natural Man, a guise heard here on wax for the first time. Aided by the all-directions Flamin’ Hot Band, Natural Man’s orchestral yet abnormal spazz recalls the most acidic and jaunty oddities of 80s American punk and DIY, a truly outside sound that’s positively thwacking at the gates, demanding entry. All four movements here have the requisite legs, fins, hoofs, gills and spores needed to cause prolonged and consistent commotion. “Sudden Wave” begins with recognizable Detroit punk riffing, gradually evolving that tough-guy overbite into bonfide space skronk. “Militant” drags a new wave pulse through the gutter, wringing out a danceability that even the spikiest of punks couldn’t resist. In this universe or your mother’s, Natural Man is an Electrical Man and just the right man for our end times. - Mitch Cardwell
Our take: Debut vinyl from this well-established project conducted by the Natural Man himself, Ian Teeple, whom you may know from his other gig playing guitar for Warm Bodies. While Warm Bodies displays Ian’s virtuosity, on this 7” at least Natural Man & the Flamin’ Hot Band feels like a party band. I’m not talking about a boneheaded frat party, but rather a hip party at an underground art gallery in a loft space on the Lower East Side in 1980. The music is energetic and celebratory, but an occasionally skronky saxophone or a choppy rhythm is always there as a sour accent to balance the sweet. While it’s similar to what the Contortions / James Chance were doing during the tail end of the No Wave era (or what the Cravats were doing in the UK around the same time), it feels like its own thing, like they arrived at this sound organically rather than by mining the past for influences. This won’t be for everyone, but I recommend it if you like your punk weird, quirky, and artsy.