Homespun: Natural Selection

White Picket Fence

Singer and keyboardist Samuel Glover started Natural Selection as an R&B cover band, and you can feel the funk on the seven-song White Picket Fence CD. Glover favors vintage synth and electric-piano tones, giving both spacey and retro overtones to most of the songs. The deep bass notes of a Fender Rhodes that open "Sitting on Your Front Stairs" ring out in a homage to Stevie Wonder, although the looped drums clatter like a dance-club banger. Album-closer "You're the One That I've Fallen For" interjects a little '80s-era Minneapolis R&B into the formula — and in fact, Natural Selection deserves props for treating Morris Day & the Time and Prince & the Revolution as equals.

But despite the decades-old sonic touchstones, White Picket Fence sounds vital. Credit Glover's weathered-yet-elastic pipes for selling the emotion behind these thoroughly danceable tracks. Lyrically, Natural Selection has a heavy heart. The songs may be light on their feet, but they are rarely lightweight. Glover's vocals pack plenty of soul for a white boy, though at times he channels Edwyn Collins' straining ache. For all the band's soul affectations, Glover has as much in common with indie-rock singers as he does with R&B crooners, and that grit helps the disc from ever getting too slick.

Likewise, bassist Nick Jost's rough-edged funk lines create grooves that are never smooth or smarmy. On the Huey Lewis hat-tip "She's Too Hip To Be Square," the slapped bass, slick guitar strokes and punchy horn blasts interweave over a glitchy drumbeat, offering Glover a jagged rhythm for his kitchen-sink drama. The title track continues the theme of domestic dissonance with weighty piano chords and a nimble (if distorted) drum-machine pattern. Glover's note-hopping, baby-please-don't-go falsetto in the song's bridge is a reminder that, like the best soul men, he can lay it on the line when it counts.

Location Info


Old Rock House

1200 S. 7th St.
St. Louis, MO 63104

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Soulard


The Natural Selection, as part of the MOTH Concert Series
8 p.m. Wednesday, June 30. Old Rock House, 1200 South Seventh Street.
$5; $2 surcharge for minors. 314-588-0505.

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