The Great Unknown: A Review
I’ll be completely honest with you; I hadn’t listened to much Natalie McCool before writing this review.
I can’t say I hadn’t heard her name before; I’m a student in Liverpool and there has been a certain buzz around the Whiston-born singer in local music news, especially following the Liverpool Music Week Awards where McCool was presented with Best Female Artist of the Year. Despite all of that, her music remained unfamiliar to me and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about; I wasn’t disappointed.
McCool’s new album The Great Unknown presents a spectrum of emotion through a great variety of sound and still remains a pretty solid, consistent piece. The opening song, Pins, is my personal favourite. Although the sound is quite minimalistic, it comes together through the pairing of isolated drum beats against a simple jerky rhythm, giving it a raw edge. McCool’s striking, icy vocals are emphasised by the minimalism in both Pins and Oh Danger and the rawness found in the lyrics of these early tracks is continued later in Feel Good. It seems on her second album McCool is not afraid to bring the edge.
There are certain songs on the album that are perhaps more ‘radio-ready’ such as Cardiac Arrest and Magnets, however they certainly do not feel out of place – probably down to McCool’s consistently strong vocals- and I can’t say I enjoyed them less than any of the other tracks.
A real highlight on the album is Fortress, her 2016 single, which features back up from a choir of singers who help to create a cleverly built up-tempo. The chorus of ‘lets build a fortress’ gathers momentum throughout the track with brilliant harmonies and tribal drum beats creating what I found to be a particularly satisfying sound.
From the rawness of tracks such as Pins to the beautiful inclusivity of Fortress, McCool’s second album comes together to make a real stand out piece of work. Although I did not know a lot about McCool before writing this I really enjoyed listening to The Great Unknown and will definitely be following her already blossoming career to see where she goes from here.
The Great Unknown will be released on the 9th September and you can catch Natalie on her upcoming headline tour which ends in Liverpool’s own Buyers Club on October 1st.