Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

Life is grayscale. Life is a fluid wash of black and white poles. Within this continuum of existence there are myriads of ideas, colors, textures and modes of living all forming an unending imbroglio of possible sensations. It is inside this chaos where Natural Selection has crawled from the salty sea to find its land legs.

Brand new on the Denver scene, there is already a palatable buzz around the fledgling act of Natural Selection (Sam Glover, vocals, keys; Nick Jost, bass). Predicated on momentum and an obvious danceability – it won’t take long until these boys are packing entire theaters for nights of rejuvenation. As far as stage presence goes: these boys have everything you could desire in a live rock n’ roll show. They are feverishly energetic and they move and dance like they mean it.

And while it won’t take much longer for the Denver’s eyes to fall upon these boys, it took many years to get to this point in time. Because while Glover and Jost have known each other for many years, both hailing from St. Louis – it was Glover’s path that gave birth to Natural Selection. Writing since he was younger, his influences are diverse – from R&B to Soul to Art Rock to Funk and even Paul Simon. And his act, Natural Selection, bears this balanced, complicated weight.

Impressively, Glover writes all the band’s songs. He writes arrangements for everything from drums to guitars and keys and even horns. The band’s current album, Lasers in the Jungle is not Glover’s first album – not by a long shot. This is Glover’s fifth album – and while I don’t have anything to compare his earlier work, Lasers is a diverse, action-packed thrill ride on a funky, technicolor wooden coaster.

Natural Selection is a funky kind of soul. While their songs are driven by Glover’s punchy melodies, they are driven just as hard by Jost’s bass playing. Passionate and highly skilled, Jost is an animal on stage – physically and sonically. But even thousands of miles away from him (he makes a living playing jazz bass in St. Louis) and on Lasers, I can not only feel and hear his danceable, complicated melodies – but I can see them. In neon.

Just like Jost, on-stage Sam Glover is larger than life. Off the stage however and he is often quiet, almost shy. Off the stage and on the street, Glover is careful where he steps. And while he is young in age, he is also old in spirit. To be writing the material that he is, he would have to be. Evidence of this can even be found in the rough tracks that will form the basis for the band’s next studio album: In this, Glover’s writing and compositions are even more mature, more powerful.

But put Glover on a stage or a dance floor – and a dizzying morphology will explode in front of you. On stage, both Glover and Jost relay an exhibition of locomotion and supreme presence. They move like their music moves and their exaltations mirror their melody’s gait.

Out on the town, Glover and Jost are renown for owning dance floors. Like their live shows, they are uninhibited and interested only in pulling people into the mix – a different space than they were in only minutes before. And they have a gift for this kind of provoking.

Lasers in the Jungle is an exemplary work. It is diverse and maybe most importantly, it strikes as close as is imaginable – to Glover and Jost’s stage show. During a show, the energy expended is grand, and obvious. And infectious. Translating that power onto an album can be tricky, but Glover has somehow managed to come very close to transferring those same natural sensations onto a disk. In all, Lasers is a grand achievement.

But, Natural Selection is just beginning. Glover already is set for another studio album. And Glover is intent on playing more shows in the Queen City; trying to coax Jost into moving to Denver – because now the iron is hot. Heads have turned. Ears, perked. And everything that has driven Glover to this point in his short history, has amalgamated into that kind of searing potential energy that defines entire lifetimes.

Stay tuned to Natural Selection’s ascent, here: www.myspace.com/thenaturalselection.