Grand Nathanial’s At The Lagoon is the new album by the alter ego of J Burton, using his former band’s surname and dropping The Ghosts from it. I am not sure if this renders Burton a solo artist, but if not it might as well because after being in bands in Lafayette, LA, including Dire Wood, FIGHTs and Talker. The synthesizer is of main ingredient to Grand Nathaniel as it has always been with Burton, but there is something magically different about the songs on this release. The spotlight is on Grand Nathaniel, when it is really J Burton at what appears to be his peak artistry.
“Wide Eyed” starts with a cool keyboard and beat pattern that perks up anyone that hears it, there is just no turning it way from the second it starts. This song hits you hard and does not let go, with an unrelenting power pop groove only heard by the best at the craft of pop songwriting. “Ladybug” also has a swagger like no other you will hear in 2020, it does not matter what genre. This is an album unaffected by the political climate, instead it delivers a leave your cares behind attitude.
The ability to take you away from the current downers of the world is what J Burton portrayed as Grand Nathaniel is best for, along with the obvious qualities any good album offers. “Nightbird” is one of the featured tracks and a moment on At The Lagoon, which is not to be missed. The importance of this track is visualized through a promo video which can be seen at YouTube, so it helps to search for the video to this truly great song. The words can easily go by without hearing, so Burton knew to ask if you’re even listening.
As the album picks up with each track, ‘Stronger” is one of the more memorable points, and it is also the most reminiscent of other artists, particularly from the 80s and early 90s. You can liken it to many without even mentioning the assortment of influences because it is just cool to hear something that good again without it being a tribute or something. At The Lagoon is like a barrage of covers you’ve never heard but always wanted to know were out there, and I suspect that is a by product of Burton starting out in the wake of bands like R.E.M.
“Radioman” is a radically interesting track, but it also explains the art of Burton for Grand Nathaniel because it is more about the music than the artist at the end of the day. I just enjoy it up there with a couple more tracks, so it will not be skipped during any of my plays of the album. It reminds me of bands like Madness and others. So does the following track “Penny” with its infectious loop that ends with just wanting to hear more of his voice and keyboard work. “Come Back” only serves to end on a high note with another incredibly magnetic opus.