Destroy Nate Allen - Perfect Recipe For A Smile / Don't Let This Smile Fool You
Owain Paciuszko 22/01/2010
Nate Allen and his wife Tessa have been performing together as Destroy Nate Allen for three years, they play optimistic, uplifting and totally sing-a-long-able pop-punk tunes that generally hit the two minute mark at most. Self-confessed 'kid songs for adults' that bares anti-folk similarities to Moldy Peaches or The Meat Puppets curating Sesame Street.
This one release comprises two albums, cobbled onto one pressing due to financial constraints, and is divided evenly in half into Nate and Tessa's two hander at the front and Nate's solo effort bringing up the rear.
Turns Out You're Perfect For Me is borderline teeth rottingly sweet, with giggles and mawkish sentimentality aplenty, whilst Recipe is a half-sung, archly written cooking song with the chorus; 'Follow the recipe the first time that you do it/After some practice there's nothing to it.' Meanwhile Loving You is an anti-romantic track about competitive punk-rock attitudes and the things that are different between two people making them all the more suited.
This (the initial ten tracks) is the first professionally recorded LP the duo have put together, and was done in one 12 hour marathon session and you can - pleasingly - hear the scratch and strain on their vocal chords, especially on the defiant strut of White Flag. In contrast to that this is the fourth (and fifth) full length album they've recorded and is a vibrant and energetic creation that manages to retain a homespun, raw quality even with a pretty crisp sound to the production.
Steady is a great straight forward rocker with wry lyrics and Nate and Tessa's vocals geling together beautifully. When the two sing together you can mentally collage them into a whole variety of venues, back rooms, house parties and envisage them going down a storm or winning over the crowd.
Elsewhere Nate's solo ten tracks are played on a mis-tuned banjo and sung with a sneer akin to John Darnielle, opener Phil Collins is silly and disposable, whilst the title track is a self-referential discourse on self-producing a solo record. His solo work lacks the instantaneous hand-clapping joy of the coupling, but is fine anti-folk singer-songwriter stuff nonetheless and pleasantly filled with occasional mis-plucked strings and the fuzzy recording ambience of Nate's apartment. Guitar Strings is an upfront love song with Nate hollering 'I love my girl!', likewise How To Make A Girl Cry is an ode to Tessa, listing the qualities that Nate adores in his musical and romantic partner!
This is a nimble pair of records jammed together with Destroy Nate Allen coming out on top thanks to its lively mix of irony and enthusiasm, as a solo artist Nate has his strengths but could blend into a crowd of similar artists, whereas with Tessa there's a fire and fun to their music that is very easy to recommend.