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The Nature Strip


New song “Prime Time” out now!


Prime Time” is one of Pete’s. Nature boy that he is, he got to thinking about cicadas, particularly the varieties that live underground for 13 or 17 years. Prime numbers. Of course it seems obvious that this is a metaphor for any creative life cycle that takes a long time to develop and results in a glorious flowering of song. As the chorus goes, “you can’t help but sing with me.”

The new tune on Spotify

It’s prime time
Seven’s fine
Eleven’s more refined
Thirteen’s rad
Seventeen is great and nineteen’s grand

Leaving childish things
Waiting on the wings

They come to hurt me
I don’t give up easily

I’ll sing the summer
I’ll sing you free
Wearing my brightest colours
You can’t help but sing with me

Time to climb
Leave the ground
And leave the dark behind
Chase the light
Dazzle them with sound and sight

Leaving childish things
We’re waiting on the wings

They come to catch and hurt me
Try to convert me
But I don’t give up easily

I’ll sing the summer
I’ll sing you free
Wearing my brightest colours
You can’t help but sing with me

I’ll sing the summer
I’ll sing you free
Wearing my brightest colours
You can’t help but sing with me

New release: Beyond The Sirens (remix EP)

Release date: 24 May 2023, all streaming platforms.

5 May 2023 Bandcamp exclusive pre-release single “Where the Sirens Waited” (feat. Zoë Carides).

It’s ten years since we released our debut album Stars Turn Inside Out. We’re celebrating with (1) a gig on 2 June at the Gasoline Pony in Marrickville where we’ll play the album in full, followed by a set of more recent tunes, and (2) an EP of remixes of some of their earliest recordings, most of which are not on the album.

The 4-track EP Beyond The Sirens launches “Handy Round Here” properly into the digital domain. It’s the first co-write by Pete Marley and John Encarnação from 2009, and is as bluesy as TNS gets, with an unhinged wine-fuelled vocal from Pete, genuine floor stomping instead of bass drum by John, and some slide guitar courtesy of musical buddy Michael de la Motte.

“Beyond the Nether” is one of the stand-out tracks of Stars. It boasts a punk/new wave vibe and a strange story involving sleep deprivation. Funnily enough, the start of the song was in John’s head when he woke up one morning – he just had to follow the trail.

The Springsteen cover “Growing Up” is the first recording of our enduring line-up – Pete on bass, John on guitar, Matt Langley on keyboards and Jess Ciampa on drums. It was recorded for a Springsteen tribute for our then label, Laughing Outlaw, and we reckon it sparkles and soars.

Then there’s “Where The Sirens Waited”. An early co-write, John had all the music but no words. He sent it to Pete, who write a sea-going epic featuring whales and dolphins, a giant octopus, fishes with wings, jealous mermaids, and of course, sirens luring the protagonist to who-knows-what, performed here in an inspired cameo by Zoë Carides. It’s quite a trip, one of Pete and John’s faves.

Meanwhile, there’s accelerating progress on our fourth album, due early next year, with another single before the year is out.

“I Cannot Deny You” – new single released Feb 9, 2023

Single artwork  – William Mortensen Off To The Sabbath


Out of the future, here they come . . . if there really is a future in rock music. Rather, The Nature Strip does what any great pop band does: smash together the music of the past into some kind of joyful new design. “I Cannot Deny You” has the hip-swagger of rock and roll, the riffy bravado of Sixties garage rock, and power pop hooks for days.

“I Cannot Deny You” is a co-write between The Nature Strip’s two prime movers. Pete Marley wrote the killer riff and chord sequences and sent them to John Encarnação, singing only the title hook. John wrote the lyrics and melodies around that prompt and sent it back within a day.

 Job done.

This is the third Nature Strip single in twelve months, following on from 2022’s “Surgery” and “Sixth Sense”. It’s part of the campaign ramping up to the Sydney-based band’s album #4, on which steady progress is being made. First though, there’ll be a celebration of the tenth anniversary of their 2013 debut. Stay tuned . . .

Available on Bandcamp and the streamers from 9/2/2023.

“Sixth Sense” – released May 26, 2022.

It’s a tale of unease. What was said? What was done? Something’s not quite right.

It’s a feast of guitars and harmonies written by Pete and recorded between lockdowns from May to December 2021 as part of a group of songs intended for our fourth album.

“Surgery” – the first new song for more than 3 years! Released Feb 18

“Surgery” is the first fruit of some new energy from The Nature Strip. The music is tough while the lyric is vulnerable – what is this thing called love? It’s like surgery, actually. A punked-up Motown groove is the foundation for a tough take on mid-1980s jangle – R.E.M. sure, but perhaps more specifically Game Theory, Orange Juice and Hoodoo Gurus. It’s the kind of pop-tastic hybrid we’ve been laying down since our debut album in 2013.

We’ve been on hiatus since late 2018 while their two songwriters pursued other projects. In 2020 Pete Marley released his debut album as Marveline (Savoury-Toothed Tiger, on Marleybone), and John Encarnacao released his fourth as Warmer (Wooden Box with Strings, on Half a Cow). 

In May 2021 they got back in the studio with drummer Jess Ciampa and keyboardist Matt Langley to commence work on some new stuff. “Surgery” came together quickly and is their first release since the Past Pacific EP in 2018, which Arun Kendall from Backseat Mafia described as “beautiful, crafted, intelligent pop.” 

I Don’t Hear A Single Reviews Beetle Bones

I covered The Nature Strip’s Presents album in March here and so I’m delighted to tell you that the band’s third full length album is with us. The Sydney based outfit have built on their excellent past, but reached out further with this splendid affair.

The songwriting has previously been handled by John Encarnacao, this time round it’s split 50 / 50 with Pete Marley. So all the New Wave influences are still there, but they’ve been broadened to include departures into Funk, Blues Rock and even Synth Pop.

Fear not though, these departures are all still held together by Encarnacao’s vocals. Even something heavier like Hildegard unt Winifred could still be The Sugarplastic if it were not for the Guitar riffs and solo.

There’s also great detail in the album, experimentation and depth. The Brass on Eye Section is another interesting departure, an almost Andy Partridge type intrusion. The XTC comparisons continue and so it will be no surprise that John Encarnacao and Drummer Jess Ciampa are part of probably the best XTC Tribute band, Scarecrow People.

Great Big Wave is a corking slice of Psych Pop, Save The Hive could easily be an outtake from XTC’s Mummer and the Stripped Down I Wanna Do The Right Thing is great New Wave. Miss You More could be on a mid 70’s Jigsaw album. The centrepiece is probably Waterfall, far more laid back, very Jefferson Airplane, with a sublime organ solo.

There’s more than enough here to keep previous followers happy, but there is also a departure to drag more in. These departures enhance what you hear rather than deflect. Beetle Bones is professionally recorded and arranged in a way that continues the band’s journey forward without deflecting from what they are good at.

This is a great album and deserves your attention. You can listen to and buy the album here.

Beetle Bones Review – CoolDad Music

By Henry Lipput

With a band name like The Nature Strip, you shouldn’t be surprised that their songs are about, among other things, the ocean, insects, the moon, and the weather.

Beetle Bones is the third full-length album from this Australian band made up of John Encarnacao, Pete Marley, Jess Ciampa, and Matt Langley. It’s the first one in which the songwriters Encarnacao and Marley each contribute an equal number of songs (they also co-wrote one of the tracks). The styles and arrangements are as different as the song subjects and include 1960s guitar jangle, psychedelia, new wave, and post-punk.

With the rocker “Tide Song,” the album kicks off with a Mike Campbell-like riff (think “American Girl”). It’s one of Encarnacao’s songs; and you’d think that, along with his even crunchier “Hildegard and Winifred” later on the album, that this is the sound he brings to the album.

But right after “Tide Song,” we have the acoustic pop gem, “Break Through,” a terrific example of what Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens once called “that striped sunlight sound,” on which, it seems, Australian bands have cornered the market.

Encarnacao’s “Eyes Are Blinded” is a slow burner and another example of how The Nature Strip use musical elements from the past to create their own sounds. With a mix of “Got To Get You Into My Life” horns, Middle Eastern-sounding organ fills, and a great lead guitar solo as the track winds down, “Eyes Are Blinded” is a song that encourages repeat listens. And his “Broken Leg” could have been a solo Sid Barrett track.

Marley’s songs are just as wide-ranging in subject and style. “Waterfall” is a splendid mid-tempo number with a great vintage 60s organ as part of the mix. I really like his description of being inside the watery veil: “Staring out through sparking raindrops / Waterfall is crushing me.”

His “Peace And Light” swings and is a wonderful showcase for his bass playing (he plays bass on the new Fallon Cush album, Morning, and has also been part of that band’s touring ensemble). “Peace And Light” also features some amazing drumming in the extended instrumental break. “Inside Voice” combines the sounds of new wave and Crowded House to create something new and extremely catchy. Marley’s “Supermoon,” which closes the album, is a fine example of gorgeous pop craftsmanship and contains jangly guitars and a marvelous melody.

Beetle Bones is out now on China Pig Records.

Bernard Zuel reviews Beetle Bones


Beetle Bones (China Pig)

One of the reasons I love The Posies is their willingness to be sweet and sour: from harmonies that echo the Hollies, to guitars and drums which resonate like some hard-nosed bar band; from lyrics which speak to the soul, to lyrics which pick hard at social scabs; from sensitivity and softness, to declamatory frankness.

And yet at all times to approach songs as if pop music is a noble craft, as if having tunes and immediate connection to a listener is not something embarrassing and only for daytime radio and after school care.

The Nature Strip don’t much sound like The Posies a lot of the time (though Save The Hive would definitely nod its head their way) but they do share their philosophy. You can start singing these songs pretty quickly and you will keep singing. You can pull apart elements of it and admire construction or just let it catch you in its wave. You can approach each track like an adult and still be reminded why you fell for music in the first place.

The organ emphasising the tone underneath Waterfall, and the backing harmonies that kick in at 46 seconds (and again at 2.05), would be enough to satisfy on their own, but the melody is a warm accumulator – that actually reminds me of The Hollies – the organ solo from Matt Langley raises the temperature without even breaking sweat and when Peter Marley sings “I’m alive again” it feels less like a cliché and more like a release.

Hildegard + Winifred has the cocky swing and pumping piano of glam with a clarion guitar sound from John Encarnacao that cuts through like some updated Ace Frehley. And it matches those with a melody that is all grinning fun for a frisky lyric line that has you wondering just what would Winifred’s sister do for you.

Then there’s We Don’t Like The Heat that opens like a semi-threatening Pink Floyd ballad (later boasting a very Roger Waters line that “crying is for babies”) and actually does end up like one of those beautifully drifting Floyd moments. And the powered pop of Save The Hive, which partially hides its light under a muscled-up organ/guitar bushel.

Or the late-period Monkees of Great Big Wave which manages to go from The Birds, The Bees & The Monkeesto Head in a few minutes, the acoustic guitar bliss and sugary outer voices of Supermoon, and the running-with-freedom pleasure of Tide Song where the ever-versatile Jess Ciampa sneaks through some cracking xylophone that is the epitome of joyful cheek.

In short, Beetle Bones is a proper pop album: catchy, brainy, energised, witty, knowing, but still with some innocence.

If you’re in Sydney on September 1 this album is being launched at Camelot. You should go.—BEETLE-BONES-REVIEW

Beetle Bones: radio 2SER new music 14/8/17

Check out : “The Nature Strip makes classic power-pop rife with sweet harmony and bulk it up with loads of technicolour twists. Having two songwriters in the bands gives Beetle Bones a great dynamic, bounding forth with an elastic sense of melody and a very sweet sense of whimsy. It’s likely these guys grew up high on the likes of XTC and Big Star, and they’re still riding tall on the possibilities of pure pop.”