Naytronix’s Mister Divine is the auditory equivalent of a post party clean up. Rather than embracing glitz and glamour, it begins just as the wild times have ended, and despite album’s glossy production, underneath it all lies a beating, damaged heart. There’s a melancholy underlying the proceedings; a strange, subtle sadness that grounds the album, turning what could have been another MGMT inspired slice of electro pop into a flawed but ambitious work of soul and power.
Collage style, Nate Brenner – the man behind the Naytronix name – layers jagged, odd electro instrumentation with disco grooves, as on the unhinged Starting Over and the horn-led The Wall. Indeed, every one of the album’s eleven tracks blisters with erratic energy and emotion, and though there’s not much scope, the crunchy instrumental work is fun while it lasts, particularly on Back In Time.
Reverb dominates the piece, particularly the vocals: Brenner has a strong voice, and uses shrouds of repetition and echo to increase its power. Though he sounds good across the piece, Living In A Dream is the track that perhaps best shows his range, as he jumps from clipped barks to dreamy melodic whispers.
That said, Mister Divine does lose steam, particularly in the second half, and the mix of melancholy and glitz does run its course before the piece has properly finished. But, even during the tough slog of the final third, Brenner still throws a few curveballs, and the exotic percussion of work of album closer Shadow is a lot more fun than it should be.
Brenner has a great album somewhere in him. This isn’t it. But as a unique, troubled gem, Mister Divine should warrant the attention of a select fanbase, and even in its least successful moments, still attempts something genuinely interesting.