Destroy Nate Allen “Recipe For A Smile” Review

In this day and age of auto tune and laptop loops rarely is pure raw energy captured in an untempered manner, and its not every day you come upon a soul who has both ferocity interwoven with a child like honesty. Destroy Nate Allen is a folk /punk  sing along duet from Portland Oregon, consisting of Nate Allen and his wife Tessa Allen. Nate originally started as a solo act releasing several EP’s and full length albums on his own. DNA just released their new double album, “Recipe for a smile”, and “Don’t let this mile fool You.”   The first album  “Recipe for a smile” exudes with rudimentary Garage Punk, absorbed by various influences from the likes of Green day,  Johny Cash, Dashboard confessional while adding a little grit in his voice.  As I listen my being starts to unravel with anthems that seem to feed the soul. By listening to the album just once, it is easy to see that Nate does not want his  work to be labeled under any certain genre. The album contains good doses of pop punk bar chords with catchy choruses, all leading to the mixed bag mentioned before. The good news is that some of this variety leads to a few noteworthy songs. DNA starts the album off on the right track with a catchy kind of feel  with “Anchors away.”  Which is a great  song to start off with. Nate raves like an optimistic lunatic giving the listener hope with lyrics like; “its not over for you/yes this I know true / and this is not the end.”  Nate and His wife Tessa push all the boundaries of the norm, and seem to sing with their hearts on their sleeves with tracks like “Turns out your perfect for me” and “His lips are sealed.” adding  some insight to Nate and Tessa’s relationship. Tessa is able to produce a hauntingly monologue and  beautiful symbolism with songs like “Recipe” where Nate and Tessa name the importance of ingredients, and this is manifested brilliantly with their voices mixed together.  Hands down the best song on the album for me was “White flag.” I am almost not doing this album justice if I don’t sing the whole song, loudly. You just cant resist signing. This highpoint of the album marks DNA’s ability to craft  incredibly moving and uplifting song’s by keeping it simple, which is rare now a days.

Moving on to the second album, “Don’t let this smile fool you.” This album is entirely sung by Nate himself, who plays the whole album on a banjo. Again Nate keeps it simple yet reveals and evokes emotion. Nate recorded this album in his apartment so the sound quality isn’t the best, but I think this is the desired effect. The album is mostly picking which lets you see a softer side of Nate. If you would have told me he recorded the album on a porch in Louisiana I would have believed you, minus the bug zappers. This is entirely evident with the song ”Phil Collins”  in which Nate’s voice is distorted purposely to give an old feel. The song’s “Glow in the dark” and ”How to make a girl cry” reminds me of the movie “O brother where art thou.” Its obvious Nate’s inspiration for this album  is his wife Tessa with lyrics like; Tessa I love you /you make me complete.  Although some of the songs sound alike I can still listen to this from beginning to end, over and over, and not easily tire. There are no weak links or unevenness here, no filler. Every cut is grade-A choice. Some, in fact, are dangerously addictive. I’ve owned the CD for a short time now and Ive sung  the song “Don’t Let This Smile Fool You” about twenty times now. I feel like a rat pushing its lever again and again to get a buzz of sheer bliss.

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