Reviewed by: Geno Thackara
“Forget about yesteryear,” Jackson Boone sings during “Lovely Low” about halfway through his second full-length, and by the time you get there you already know it’s pretty much a joke. It’s the present-day real world you can forget about. For the course of Natural Changes, you and he live in a magical fantasy land smack in the heart of the flower-child 60s. It’s a piece of psychedelic pop at its dreamiest, eerily reminiscent of the Beatles at their most drug-addled and screwy. Combine the un-self-conscious frivolity of “I Am the Walrus” with Willy Wonka levels of whimsy and you’re probably halfway there.
It should be daft, but the results come out… well, okay, it is somewhat daft. The sound is hazy and echoey enough to almost make you see pink elephants. The opener is called “LaLa,” for God’s sake (and most of the other titles only follow suit). At the same time, it’s so gosh-durn wholesome that criticizing it too strongly would feel like stealing somebody’s ice cream. You can practically see Boone and his band floating off into the clouds with big smiles on their faces, and while it’s perhaps easy to get annoyed, it’s also easy to be a bit jealous of their simple joy.
The results may sound a bit too chemically-induced to be natural, but Natural Changes taps into something pleasantly innocent all the same. Jackson Boone seems to remember the 60s because he wasn’t there, and he’s offering the rest of us a vividly colorful chance to do the same.