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Abduction by aliens. Encounters with clowns and tigers. A game involving sleep deprivation. A library of regret. Einsteinian space/time delusions. The Nature Strip’s perfect pop is obviously written directly from experience. The whole thing rides – bumpily at times – on a magic carpet of guitars and vocal harmonies, synthesisers (real and virtual) and rhythms pulled from the bowels of old Casios, as well as played by human hands.
The album is called Stars Turn Inside Out. Insert galactic hyperbole here. It’s the supernova of guitar pop. It’s rock music for the whole solar system. They’re huge among the moons of Saturn. Etc, etc.
The Nature Strip began as the duo of Peter Marley and John Encarnacao, who did three albums as Warmer for W.Minc and Half a Cow. TNS is a whole new beast though – brighter, poppier, harder, faster . . . Their songwriting intersects in a rambling holiday house in Currarong, three hours south of Sydney on Australia’s east coast. Pete brings science fiction and vocal harmony hooks by the bucketful, Jonno the curveballs and adult themes. They share respect for The Well Written Pop Song. Together they produce tracks that raid ‘70s and ‘80s power pop and new wave in an almost random fashion to make new pocket masterpieces of the misremembered.
John plays the role of guitar hero mostly, though he’s more interested in melody and sound than shredding, but will play other stuff if the mood takes him (and Pete will let him). Pete is generally the bass dude – call him Bootsy McCartney and he’ll buy you a beer. Rhythm expert Jess Ciampa – also a Warmer alumnus – came on board for about half the album’s tracks (you may notice that most of ‘side 2’ has a more professional sense of walloppp), and Matt Langley completes the sonic picture live on keyboards and guitar.