IT BITES FD – Return To Natural (2024)

IT BITES FD - Return To Natural (2024) - full

Lead vocalist, guitarist & songwriter in the ’80s for excellent British prog-pop-rock band IT BITES, Francis Dunnery has pursued a solo career since the Nineties, however contiued performing the music he wrote for the band.
2024 Dunnery has unveiled a new-look band that features legendary drummer Chad Wackerman, bassiist Paul Brown, keyboard player Tony Turrell and atmospherics from Dave McCracken. Billed as IT BITES FD, they will release their new studio album, titled “Return To Natural“.
An analogue recording inspired by the renaissance of vinyl, the album was recorded, mixed and mastered using 24-track analogue board and mixed & mastered to quarter inch analogue tape. No Plug ins, No Software Instruments, no digital manipulation with timing or tuning and real live rehearsed recordings, remember them?
“Return to Natural” takes listeners on an evocative journey through an eight-track captivating album, musically varied ranging from proggy pop, melodic hard rock to classic rock, art rock, and more.

The album kicks-off with “Turning the Sky to Fire,” a laid-back dynamic affair, Dunnery’s vocals complimented by an ambient synth gradually intertwining with the rhythm section. A short taster of that unmistakable Dunnery electric guitar sound creates a sense of anticipation and excitement for what’s to come.
With the title track, “Return to Natural,” the pace starts to pick up, a sonic manifesto that embraces the album’s overarching theme. Dunnery’s vocals shine, delivering introspective lyrics about modern world living, frustrations with social media and phone use obsession getting in the way of natural conversation and relationships. Hints of the original It Bites sound here with a synth solo linking into a Dunnery guitar solo masterclass. Wackerman turns up the heat with intricate drum overlays.

“Magdalena” and its strong guitar hook transports us into a melodic and uplifting tune with a strong chorus, hard not to sing along. A light and shade section with intricate guitar work and ambient sounds, overlayed with familiar Dunnery vocal melody.
“Man Overboard” is an artsy composition that showcases the tight musical chemistry of the band, Wackermans rhythmic prowess drives the momentum with a free-form solo towards the end, complemented by Tony Turrell’s skilful keyboard contributions and multi-Dunnery layered vocal harmonies.
“While We Were Sleeping” offers an initial reflective pause in the album, delicate guitarpassages and poignant lyrics. Dunnery’s ability to convey emotion through his vocals and instrumentation is particularly powerful in this track. A gear change with a superb intricate guitar solo and explosive rhythm section transports us back to that delicate Dunnery vocal, impressive stuff.

“Out of Order” injects a dose of unpredictability into the album head rocking guitar riffs anchor the track, classic Dunnery guitar sound doesn’t disappoint. I imagine this one played live, I smile. The infectious rhythm of “Hot Spring Water” makes it a standout track. Brown’s bass guitar anchors the groove while Dunnery’s guitar prowess and echos of that original It Bites unique vocal and chord progression take centre stage.
Closing the album on a powerful note, “We’re Going to Clean the Sea” is a call to action. A progressive rock masterpiece, It Bites fans will not be disappointed. The ‘Once Around the World’ track for a 2024 It Bites album and an epic finale that leaves a lasting impression.

“Return to Natural” is a work of quality that benefits from the musicianship of its players. As he showed during his initial run with It Bites, Dunnery is a fluent, acrobatic guitar soloist in the tradition of Steve Hackett, and his skills are on ample display throughout this release.
While his solo albums in recent years have tended to downplay his guitar playing to emphasize his singer-songwriter abilities, the songs on ”Return to Natural” give him a forum to really cut loose on guitar again, and it’s great to hear. His singing voice is also still in fine shape.
Highly Recommended


01 – Turning The Sky Into Fire
02 – Return To Natural
03 – Magdalena
04 – Man Overboard
05 – While We Were Sleeping
06 – Out Of Order
07 – Hot Spring Water
08 – We’re Going To Clean The Sea

Francis Dunnery – Guitars, Vocals
Paul Brown – Bass
Chad Wackerman – Drums
Tony Turrell – Keyboards
Dave McCracken – Ambience, sounds



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