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Having played with rock band Darlahood, Graham Parker, and Rich Robinson (of the Black Crowes), among others, one of the least expected things that would happen to drummer Joe Magistro would be to be signed to Astralwerks. But Magistro himself was probably unaware that the loops and samples he was messing around with in his Brooklyn apartment would lead to a song on the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy soundtrack when he started recording his own music, anyway, and so, regardless of any predictions, the drummer found himself with Astralwerks under the name Prophet Omega, with his solo debut out in 2006. The thing is, though, despite all indications that it would be an electronica-based dance record, The Natural World is more (late) Stereophonics than Stereo MC's (in fact, it's almost surprising that "Mr. Writer" isn't covered here, as it would fit perfectly). The crunchy '70s-inspired guitars play simple, soulful riffs, the keys are funky and bright, and Magistro (who plays most of the instruments on the album) has a nasally Greg Dulli-meets-Tom Petty voice that he doubles up and effects, the whole album coming together in a very modern way. Being that Magistro's singing isn't particularly strong, he stays in the same key for many of the pieces, and doesn't move around much, many of the melodies overlapping, which just leads to a degree of repetition in the album (the faster songs sound very similar, the slower songs sound very similar), but because everything's so catchy this doesn't act as a deterrence. Rather, it creates a kind of "sing-and-drive-along" continuity that makes The Natural World a lot of fun. Yeah, the lyrics don't always make a lot of sense, the guitar work is not always great (especially the strangely off-key solo in "Drinking Champagne Alone," which is otherwise a very good song), and, as previously mentioned, there are about five melodies that are recycled and reused (though it's done well) again and again, but these things are easy to ignore, and should be, because the album works too well as a whole to pass it up for a couple of minor flaws.
Performance CreditsProphet Omega Primary Artist
Gail Ann Dorsey Background Vocals
Pete Davis Hammond Organ
Sara Lee Bass,Background Vocals
Joe Magistro Track Performer
Technical CreditsPete Davis Programming,Engineer
Steve Fitzmaurice Producer
Joe Magistro Composer,Producer,Engineer
Marc Copely Composer
Aaron Linn Drawing