Dead Nature – ‘Watch Me Break Apart’ album review

Former Spring King singer and award-winning producer Tarek Musa releases ‘Watch Me Break Apart’, the debut album under his Dead Nature moniker. The album finds Tarek sharing his internal thoughts and anxieties about everything from the strain of social media to the never-ending circle of bad news we seem to have found ourselves in…

The title track opens the record in boisterous fashion – albeit with some sadness in the lyrics: ‘Watch me break apart, I don’t really know, I don’t really know, I don’t really know who I am anymore’. Recent single ‘Hurricane’ follows, channelling the spirit of Springsteen as it discusses the urgent need to do something about the climate crisis: ‘I don’t wanna fight a nuclear war in my life, feels like the end of time’. Although wonderfully glitchy and melodic, ’50 Foot Wall’ covers the same subject with equal levels of fear and frustration: ‘I feel like I’m running out of time’.

‘Borrowed Heart’ opens with a melting pot of drums, synths, feedback and vocals that recall Jack Antonoff – both in the Bleachers-esque sound and production values, while ‘Falling Down’ takes you right back to cruising cross-country in a convertible car with its FM-friendly ’80s vibes. Again, there’s a touch of sadness and heartbreak in the lyrics (plus some great ‘heys’ in the backing vocals, courtesy of All We Are’s Guro Gikling): ‘Tell me now what’s my heart to do’. ‘Red Clouds’ is an instant earworm about how much hope there is in life – ‘When I feel something, I want to feel it forever’ – even if it doesn’t end as you want, while ‘Rivers’ offers a rhythmic and nostalgic statement of reassurance to a loved one: ‘When tears roll down your face, it’s alright, I’ll take care of you’; ‘We used to run, we used to love, we used to smile, we used to run wild’.

‘Nothing is Gonna Change’ is another defiant piece with promises to wait in the firing line and a plea that ‘I know that things are gonna be OK’ against a backdrop of synths that recall Chvrches or Phoenix, before the album comes to a close with the more guitar-driven ‘Ladlands’ – a song that focuses on the danger of the echo chamber (‘I’m running out of power, let me go’) amidst a fusion of fuzzy riffs and ‘Popscene’-era Blur hooks.

‘Watch Me Break Apart’ is a deeply personal record full of hopes and frustration, but delivered against a sound of eminently danceable and dynamic power pop.

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