In “Tall Order,” Nature’s Neighbor puts out a track that is equal parts Ben Folds and Sufjan Stevens. There are moments that are reminiscent of Sufjan’s Illinois, and then synthesizers invade the soundscape to make it sound like Sufjan’s The Ascension, but there are also more tender piano sections where Mike Walker’s voice really sounds like Ben Folds. This hybrid sound makes it hard to pin down the main influence behind the project, but it also makes the song more enticing.
Just when a listener thinks they have “Tall Order” figured out, Mike Walker and friends flip the script. Does this make the listening experience jarring? No. The song is a seven minute excursion, but it’s a brief excursion. It’s deep, it’s exciting, and it’s over far too soon. The breakdown at the end is one of the most inspiring musical moments in recent memory (possibly because of who it takes influence from), and when the drum machine picks back up to end the song, the roller coaster gets ready to continue.
That’s what this song is: a roller coaster. It starts out slow and gets the listener into some semblance of security and safety before completely ripping that safety away to showcase its true potential. Then it lends that safety back for a little bit before sending the listener on a corkscrew that makes their head feel like it’s going into their stomach and vice versa.
While the band has explicitly stated that “Tall Order” is a standalone single, I can’t wait to see if this is the direction they took their album, O t h e r s i d e. Be sure to check out “Tall Order” and everything else Nature’s Neighbor has done so far!