Fresh Tracks: Nature Airliner travels from Edmonton punk to Japanese folk for its debut

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Nature Airliner’s blend of heartfelt vocals and spartan guitar melodies are on full display with their debut album, Cardinal. Comprised of former Edmontonian Laurier Tiernan and his wife Eiko, the Japan-based folk duo have already released half a dozen singles and an EP before cementing the 10 songs found on Cardinal.

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Nature Airliner’s debut album, Cardinal. Photo by Fourni

Much of the album approximates the style of early Leonard Cohen with plaintive lyrics backed by barebones acoustic guitar. Vocal tasks on most songs are courtesy of Eiko, with Tiernan holding down the harmony on some tracks.

The song set kicks off with For You Alone, the album’s first single, a love-laden singalong track propelled by playful fretwork. It is followed by the ballad, Twin Flames, which is about the bonding of kindred spirits.

Not all of Cardinal’s songs deal with matters of the heart. Tiernan describes the track Letting Go as a “bleed” as it draws on his struggles through suicidal tendencies and depression. In the song, he purges himself of gloom and urges others to remain persistent and walk through the darkness.

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The no-frills production leaves plenty of room for vocals and melodies to ring out. Tiernan says they spent years looking for a suitable recording studio, ultimately choosing the former Columbia Studio A in Nashville. The resulting sparse recordings highlight the duo’s strengths, but also expose some of the weaker elements such as potboiler lyrics.

Tiernan cut his teeth on the punk rock scene, but little of that pain and fury can be found in Nature Airliner. Aside from the occasional frantic acoustic guitar strumming, Tiernan says Nature Airliner is his outlet for inspiring people to live life to the fullest despite obstacles.

Cardinal was released on May 6, 2022 on SoundCloud and Reverbnation and is available through iTunes, Amazon and other major music retailers. Visit

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