Grand Nathaniel is the new project from J Burton, who’s based in Lafayette, Louisiana. His new sound is very different from that of his previous band, FIGHTs, with Burton now planting his feet firmly in the Euro synth pop style popularised by bands in the 80s and 90s.
New single, ‘Nightbird’ dropped on September 11, and comes from his debut LP, ‘At The Lagoon’, set for release on September 25.
J Burton is certainly no newcomer to the music business, having been a prominent member of the music scene in Lafayette for the past 25 years or so, where he’s been the frontman of a number of the area’s most popular indie acts, plus he’s produced some as well. He’s best known for his folk-rock group, Dire Wood, during the 2000s, but after they split he moved onto upbeat synth-pop with FIGHTs, then synth pop trio, Talker, then prog-rock ensemble, Grand Nathaniel and the Ghosts. No longer haunted, J has dropped his ghosts gone it alone as a solo artist, performing as Grand Nathaniel.
J Burton’s style is reflective of his time living in Athens, Georgia, during the post-R.E.M. era. With Grand Nathaniel he takes in the sounds of the 1990s and works his way back, accumulating post-hardcore, prog, and disco punk, and melding them all together into something rather amazing. Upcoming album, ‘At The Lagoon’, leans towards pop with its themes of love, loss, redemption, hero-worship and nostalgia…but there’s so much more to it than what is seen on the surface. First single, ‘Nightbird’, could well be a track by David Sylvian, or ABC; he certainly knows his stuff, and manages to bring the sounds of the 1980s forward to now, at the same time giving it a contemporary feel.
The video is dark and sombre, with Grand Nathaniel shot performing in a dark room, while colour scratches the film. It’s interspersed with streetscapes, domestic shots, and a canvas. Grand Nathaniel implores us to examine if we’re even listening – with the video we are asked if we’re even watching as well.