Childheads worldwide can rejoice. Everyone’s favorite stoned out Southern rockers, Natural Child, are back with a fresh batch of blissful, couch-locking grooves. Okey Dokey, the band’s fourth LP, finds the foursome from Nashville picking up where they left off with 2014’s Dancin’ With Wolves in terms of laid-back atmosphere and stylings while sounding more confident and relaxed than ever before.
Okey Dokey has the lighthearted and reflective feel of a young band that has done a lot of growing up in the four short years since their first release in 2012, and are just now beginning to really come into their own. The album kicks off sounding very much like Velvet Underground’s “Rock n’ Roll” with the bright, sun soaked groove of “Sure is Nice”, a track that sets the tone for what’s to come. The lyrics are sung in a hushed and restrained manner quite different from the group’s earlier, more angsty teen rebellion anthems like “Laid, Paid, and Strange” and “Crack Mountain”. And from the opening verse, “You know it sure is nice to have a little bit of money, you know it’s been a long time now finally honey”, it’s obvious that Natural Child is a group enjoying the ride and happy with where they are, having achieved some level of success and building a cult-like fan base with nonstop touring and kick ass live shows. Many of the tracks on Okey Dokey, including the Doug Sahm inspired country blues of “Now and Then”, the Skynyrd-esque Southern rocking of “Transcendental Meditation”, and the down home gospel of “Self Centered Blues” share this reflective sentiment.
The other most notable quality of the album is the slightly longer song lengths, which leave more room for spacey improvisation and better capture the spirit and spontaneity of a Natural Child live performance. The final two tracks, “Benny’s Here”, an ode to keyboardist Benny Divine, and “Its a Shame”, each clock in at nearly seven minutes a piece and both are psychedelic instrumentals with few or no lyrics.
Okey Dokey is an instant classic with a timeless sound and it’s Natural Child’s strongest effort to date. So go get a couple friends, a few beers and a comfortable couch, and give it a spin.