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A momentary 'Thrill'

Debut EP by Huntington Beach band the Natural Thrill shows promise over five tracks.

March 20, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Huntington Beach-based rock band The Natural Thrill.
Huntington Beach-based rock band The Natural Thrill. (Courtesy Steve…)

It took the Natural Thrill some time to get all their pieces together, but when the four-piece band finally fell in place, a polished EP was created.

The Huntington Beach-based rock-reggae fusion band has been together for barely six months, but their five-track self-titled EP makes it seem like they've been making music for much longer.

Frontman Geoff Moss and drummer Chuy Vidales had been playing in Austin, Texas, in a band called Project MOSS. Lead guitarist Conrad Bauer was playing as a session artist for record label XACT Production in Los Angeles. And bassist Sean Erickson was internationally touring with reggae band Top Shelf.

But after the duo from Project MOSS relocated back to Huntington Beach and brought in Bauer and Erickson to complete the band, the gears were finally in motion and the crew pushed out an EP that showcased their versatility.

There's a general song structure Natural Thrill follows in most of their songs, where they begin with a rock intro and transition to a ska or reggae-type beat.

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This pattern switches back and forth from verse to chorus and almost every bridge in between. It may sound off-putting to some, but it actually works.

Natural Thrill someone blends the two together, making it feel like you really are listening to one song instead of two different tracks.

The EP opens with the track "Believe," which at the beginning hints that the song might have some ska or reggae influence. Once the first verse comes around, those influences become apparent.

The song is laid-back, laced with simple upchucks (ska terminology for a fast upward strum), Moss' smooth voice and Bauer's guitar solo that isn't overbearing.

"Sad Girl" brings the mood down and incorporates an interesting element to the song: a delay pedal.

By the time the song reaches the second verse, either Bauer or Moss uses a delay on his guitar, giving the song a more airy ambience. It reminds me of the delay riffs from the Angel & Airwaves song "The Adventure."

The mixture of cross-sticking from the snare drum and the delayed guitar give the song a lightness that, despite the song's downbeat quality, won't make you feel like a sad girl or boy.

Picking the mood back up is the third track, "Dancing in the Fire." Unforgettable harmonizing guitars kick off the song and have your head nodding in no time.

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