Indie rockers King Ropes released their fifth studio album, Super Natural, across airwaves yesterday. A collection of desert rock tunes laced with Americana influences, the new record comes via indie label Big and Just Little, with vinyl copies available for purchase here.
Super Natural touches on sorrow and hopefulness, as the gripping storytelling of frontman Dave Hollier shines through his intimate experiences with grief and growth. Along with resounding guitars and entrancing melodies, the band’s Montanan roots are showcased through the detailed imagery of natural scenery, such as in the introspective “Heart Shaped Garden” or the haunting concluding track “Mystery.”
Recorded in Hollier’s multipurpose warehouse space in Bozeman, MT, Super Natural pushes to emphasize the raw and gritty, pulling the authenticity of the songs into the mixing and engineering of bandmate Ben Roth. The band’s focus shifted with their new music, choosing to be direct in their words whilst natural in their sonic directions.
“Sometimes, hardly ever, something in your life can come together in a way that feels like everything is aligned; maybe even magic. I’ve been around long enough to see that when this happens it won’t last forever, and I do my best to savour it, pay attention, and enjoy it as much as I can. Recording Super Natural was one of those moments. The fact that it came in the middle of a pandemic made it feel that much more unlikely.
Jeff and I had been working on these songs together through the winter and spring last year. In June, Ben packed his recording gear in his van and came out to Bozeman to set up in our warehouse here. We had about 10 days, just the three of us, to focus on bringing these songs to life: to be there as these songs came to life. And that’s what it felt like. They sprang to life. I think you can feel the joy radiating out of these songs. It really did feel super natural. We couldn’t call it anything else. Welcome to Super Natural.” – Dave Hollier, lead vocalist of King Ropes
King Ropes Fuse Sweet Americana & Desert Rock in Super Natural Album
Super Natural, King Ropes’ fifth album, is full of open spaces and jagged edges. Guitars scrape and whine. Amps rumble. Rickety pianos rattle in and out of tune. Like Montana, the band’s home, nothing is too refined.
At the centre of it all is a singer and frontman Dave Hollier, a gifted songwriter at the top of his game, surveying a land haunted by doomed relationships and hypocrite ideologues in his odd, quivering voice. The songs convey a world that is remarkably gorgeous but also harsh and unforgiving, dark and foreboding.
Super Natural is at once King Ropes’ most ambitious and intimate work, expanding the parameters of the band’s desert rock and ragged Americana sound. It is buoyed by a directness that brings out Hollier’s most stirring songwriting to date.
Hollier has a gift for writing about tragedy and pain with wry humour and conversational bluntness. Long-simmering family trauma, visions of animal reincarnation, mysterious respiratory ailments—all are worthy songwriting prompts as the record vacillates from the pounding rhythms of “Hello Sun” and the thick, stoner-rock roar of “Drunk Donny” to the tenderness of “Sure,” a sorrowful, synth-driven ode to regret, and the quietly stunning, disarmingly plainspoken “Breathing”.