x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

OneRepublic reinvents its sound on the album Native

The band push more musical boundaries than ever before by peppering their signature pop-rock hybrid with electronic sounds, blues, gospel and folk.

OneRepublic experiments on their new record in a way that is captivating and honest rather than contrived and forced. IBL / Rex Features
OneRepublic experiments on their new record in a way that is captivating and honest rather than contrived and forced. IBL / Rex Features

OneRepublic

Native

(Mosley, Interscope)

****

After OneRepublic became a household name virtually overnight thanks to a stamp of approval from the super-producer Timbaland and their breakthrough debut single Apologize, naysayers could easily have written the band off as another one-hit wonder. A string of memorable hits later, the Colorado-based collective is back with their third studio album, Native, which was recorded in five countries.

"We didn't want to make laptop rock," says the lead singer, Ryan Tedder. "We wanted it to be warm, organic. It's just better."

While OneRepublic's previous albums possessed a more slow-paced, melancholic sound, Native has a decidedly more upbeat feel. The band pushes more musical boundaries than ever before by peppering their signature pop-rock hybrid with electronic sounds, blues, gospel and folk. Polished production from cutting-edge producers including Jeff Bhasker and Benny Blanco sets the scene for an ambitious new sound that has resulted in the band's most inspiring and energetic album to date.

From heartfelt, violin-driven ballads (Au Revoir) to feel-good arena anthems (Feel Again) and edgy and gritty rockers (Light It Up), OneRepublic cover a substantial number of genres on this record without abandoning the signature sound that their fans love them for.

The album's highlights, Preacher and Burning Bridges, contain the soaring choruses and introspective lyricism that characterised much of OneRepublic's 2007 debut album, Dreaming Out Loud, while the single If I Lose Myself is an experimental electro instrumental. Something I Need is a lively flaws-and-all approach to the archetypal love song that showcases Tedder's lyrical honesty.

Native's strength as an album lies in its musical diversity, which keeps the listener engaged throughout. OneRepublic's four-year hiatus and numerous album pushbacks seem to have been worth it after all; this latest effort is a clear indication that the band have elevated their sound. The band experiment in a way that is captivating and honest as opposed to contrived and forced. Native is a refreshingly compelling body of work that is authentic enough to impress OneRepublic's loyal listeners as well as innovative enough to expand their fan base.

artslife@thenational.ae

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