Modern Nature took their name from filmmaker Derek Jarman’s diaries, which he wrote in a cottage on the coast of Kent. This scenic image sums up the group wonderfully on an endearing debut.
The sombre cellos that serve as the album’s introduction signpost the melancholy journey to come, but the real surprise is how rich ‘How To Live’ really is. Modern Nature feel like a long-lost cousin of post-rock pioneers Talk Talk or drone-rockers Wooden Shjips on tracks like ‘Footsteps’, as they combine simple guitar work with motorik beats, soft synth pads and saxophone improvisations.
‘Criminals’ is a stunning highpoint - with a woozy synthesizer line that seems to drift in and out of time. And ‘Peradam’ touches on Radiohead’s chilled-out classic ‘Reckoner’ for another diazepam jazz daydream.
Jack Cooper’s soft vocals are so understated that for long sections it feels like an instrumental record, but this only adds to the album’s blissful allure. It’s a delicate piece of work that somehow it manages to feel fully-formed at the same time. And it’s this contradiction that makes it such a compelling piece of work.