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Published: 2008/10/20
by Randy Ray

Unbound – Nate Wilson Group

self-released

Originally keyboardist for Percy Hill and Assembly of Dust, keyboardist Nate Wilson has formed his own solo project and Unbound is the intriguing result. The album is rooted heavily in the sounds of classic and progressive rock, but very early on in the work, one feels that Wilson clearly has an ear for unique and memorable melodies, as well.

Guitars kick in, drums set the wheels in rhythmic motion, bass lays the foundation, and riffs encircle and enfold the listener. However there is something else going on here, an almost effortless segue from raw garage grunge to poignant pop imageryit is almost as if a really gifted songwriter has been given the reins of a hard rock group, and allowed to veer the band into a more sonically-palatable region. And that is also a very apt definition of the Nate Wilson Group, as the bandleader shows a keen ear for a true dichotomynoisy crunch and catchy hooks.

The group includes Wilson on keys and vocals, Adam Terrell on guitar, Tom Arey on drums, and Nate Edgar on bass, and they formed in 2007 for a weekly residency at the Stone Church near the University of New Hampshire. In a short spell, that long-standing gig has solidified the band’s chops, and one hears a bit of AOD’s echo channeled into Wilson’s quartet, but the overall difference is that Wilson balances his own descriptive touches with a more guitar-and-keys heavy approach. Riffs are aplenty, and lined with cool atmospheric motifs (“Hear the Echoes,” and “Scatterbrain”). An 8-minute swim through exotic Floydian waters (“The Long Ships”) and a toxic trance and thrash vibe (“Sticks and Stones”) mingle quite nicely with sweet funk and soul (“Justify”).

Wilson keeps the dynamic focus on songcraft, and appears like he has used the stage to find a truly original voice for a group that, in lesser hands, may have come off as just another classic rock-riff hodgepodge. The key is the almighty hook, and one would hope to hear more from this developing group filled with confident promise. For now, Unbound is an album that knows its strengthsget em to come back fo moreand plays that ace card well.

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