Often in the heady world of popular music, someone who isn’t an attention seeking charisma machine can find their songs lost in the ever-faster-flowing release of new albums, singles and scenes. Replacing fireworks and neon signs with brains, a dulcet voice and acerbic lyrics is D. Rogers, who, on his fourth album, has decided to bring in fewer accompanists on what is a surprisingly eclectic album.
Don’t be fooled by the image of a myopic singer-songwriter from Northcote, Rogers is a writer who is comfortably in command of an arsenal of sounds without ever playing to a cliché or straying from a delicate, oddly hi-fi, production. A string section on Pay to Pay is gorgeously arranged, lending the track a wintry ominous quality, reinforced by reversed drums, while Emma Heeney’s beautiful vocal harmony brings a warm complimentary glow wherever she lends it. Possibly the most beautifully realised song here is Hanabi, a two minute burst of fuzzpop that brings Rogers back to Japan, the country where his first two albums were born, to celebrate space, land and tradition; a long way from the domestic concerns that give the album its title.
With less of a country edge than his earlier work, Rogers isn’t all about ‘casting a spell’ with his voice and guitar, which the opening track Not Correct and the acquiescing lament I’d Cave prove he can do with ease. A cranking ‘band’ (himself and drummer Dave Kleynjans), bursts through on the power pop crackle of Your Heart’s An Only Child, lead off single Westgarth Talking and spellbinding closer Food & Electricity. With no songs straying over four minutes, Rogers is still revelling in the pop song framework, but it’s rarely been used with such a manifold talent or acuity as it is on Natural Disasters.