Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio we’re listening to Lethia’s Natorium’s latest single, That’s the Way I Am. We previously reviewed Lethia’s Natorium’s clever lyrics track, You Lived Here Like A Tenant, so we were excited to see her reach the top of our reviews pile again.

Lethia’s Natorium is the brainchild of singer-songwriter, Pena, together with whatever session players she chooses to pull in for each project.

That’s The Way I Am is a song which is written from the perspective of some who sounds as though they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Pena previously released ‘Sorry No Longer Cuts It’ which told the story from the view of someone who had been wronged, ‘That’s the Way I Am’ tells the story from the point of view of the perpetrator.

Lyrics like “I should know how to hurt – a cold-hearted expert” and “raise your self-esteem high, love bomb you all the time, that’s the way I am” point clearly towards a writer has been unfortunate enough to have found themselves in a position to study up on this kind of behaviour and find that they’re all the same. Many will take comfort in these lyrics and feel less alone. Great job for raising awareness, Pena.

That’s The Way I Am is a punky, lo-fi 80s feeling, almost anarchistic track. Pena’s vocals hugely reminding us again of Toyah Wilcox. The voice has a couldn’t-care-less attitude (which suits the subject matter) and the focus is more on the attitude of the lyrics than producing perfectly pitched notes. We found this utterly charming.

We love the production choice on the vocals. The lead vocal sounds panned and doubled, leading to a voice which gives way more attitude because the nuances in each performance are not the same. Usually, vocals are placed front and centre, but by panning them and doubling them, Pena has created some extra chaos and punkiness in the track. The vocals are intimate and you can hear every breath and creak in her voice – again – utterly charming!

The heavy guitars make the choruses stand out and give some extra edge to these sections of the song. The guitar solo is simple but effective, relying, in the main, on single-note bending.

Ideas from our ears

A cut around 70Hz would balance out the low end a bit and another cut around 4.5kHz would tame some slightly harsh tones. A small boost in the top octave would increase the brightness and clarity too. Finally, a light compressor/limiter and maybe ~5dB of make-up gain would increase the warmth as well as controlling differences in volume throughout the track.

Final thoughts
Lethia’s Natorium is a breath of fresh air in a world of manufactured pop. A songwriter whose attitude gives her an edge that makes her music thoroughly endearing.