Not Waving renders his pop soul on a definitive album opus ‘How To Leave Your Body’, starcrossed with guest appearances by Jim O’Rourke, Jonnine Standish, Marie Davidson, Spivak and Mark Lanegan.
An escapist parable for the times, Alessio Natalizia marks a career high with his most sensitive production and songwriting illuminated by a coterie of notable collaborators. Its 11 songs deal with the necessity of friendship, the fragility of loss and spiritual transcendence via a spectrum of strategies that ultimately arrive at a mutual conclusion: love is the message. It packs ample amounts of nostalgia into a fantasy sequence of elegiac pop, skewed rave and midnight lullabies that fine-tune over 20 years of devotion to his craft, perfectly matching experimental restlessness with enduring pop appeal.
Perhaps unavoidably, circumstances had a hand in the creation of ‘How To Leave Your Body’, forcing Natalizia to work with collaborators remotely. Yet the strength of his bonds bleeds through in the album’s handful of poignant vocal pieces, none more so than the hushed intimacy of Marie Davidson on the bewitching downbeat trance hymn ‘Hold On’, but also in the bruised blush of ‘My Sway’ featuring Jonnine’s spine-tracing lilt over hovering organ and dembow bumps, while the hook-up with Mark Lanegan once again yields bittersweet fruit on ‘Last Time Leaving Home Part 2’, with gravelly blues vox diffused into detuned, miasmic cello that really tugs.
Effortless and made for rinsing, the whole album is testament to the humility and pathos of Natalizia’s oeuvre, which has gotten better with age. It plays out like a lovingly crafted mixtape, decanting all original material with a classic cadence and fleeting play of styles, from aerial jazz notes in ‘You Are Always Younger Than The Future’, to the gnawing club grind of ‘Define Normal’, a noisily gurning ‘Self-Portrait’, and the lushly resolved admittance of ‘My Best Is Good Enough.’ Comparisons don’t really work with this one, it’s just Not Waving.