Northern American – Wander



    Providing as much intrigue about its creators and their musical endeavour as undoubted enjoyment, Wander from US band Northern American is an immediate slice of evidence as to why there is a richly brewing buzz building up around the Californian band. Not a wind to rigorously ruffle hair and agitate feet into keen wantonness but a caressing breeze with the potency and seduction to coax out a full and warm appreciation, the new single from the LA quartet dances with the imagination whilst taking thoughts on a glide through the emotive and scenic persuasion seemingly suggested by their home city’s instinctive temptation.

     Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Nate Paul, keyboardist Shane Alch, drummer Bruno Calenda, and bassist Augusto Vega, Northern American declare their music as a picture of the city they live in, “From The Doors to Tupac, we are inspired by the same sunset, Los Angeles; the place that was and always will be.” Certainly the sultry and mesmeric heat that you imagine soaks the city washes over the senses through the persuasive sounds embracing the ears adding to the inspirations of the likes classic bands The Doors and The Byrds on to contemporaries such as Local Natives, Autolux, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults which the band says impacted on them. There is a slight familiarity to the songs making up the single at times, though not admittedly sparking thoughts of the first two bands mentioned, but also a uniqueness which sets the band apart without forging a wholly individual presence quite yet.

  The successor to the well-received Happiness Hungover EP, Wander is poised to tease and tempt wider attention through its happinesshungover_largeworldwide release via Heist or Hit Records, not only to itself but in preparation for the band’s debut album currently in the preparation. Currently working with Local Natives producer Raymond Richards all signs point to the year being an extensive awakening towards the band’s enveloping sounds, the single the initial provocative melodic climate to drift over the passions. A release which like the summer sun seduces and heats the senses more the longer you remain in its gaze, Wander emerges as a lingering suasion which will be taken close attention of.

     Wander emerges from a busy yet restrained ambience, electro pulses shooting across its gentle sky whilst an eager rhythmic and melodic brew builds into a jazzy and evocative texture surrounding the expressive tones of Paul. It is not an entrance which opens new doors and definitely it carries a likeable familiarity but with the strong vocals, skittish rhythmic stroll, and guitar jangle it only entices a welcoming appetite. This is until a mouthwatering flip into an almost tribalistic rhythmic tango breaks free, the wonderful detour hypnotic and carnivalesque plus quite irresistible. It is a glorious unexpected twist soon followed by another as a dark drift of sound and adventure shows its hand. A moody alluring bassline provides a shadow kissed temptation whilst keys float and flit over its infectious bait. The blend is almost Joy Division/PIL like before melodies mingle with cosmic shards of electronics to lead the listener back into the initial course of the song. It is a masterful encounter which only gets better and stronger in its contagion the more time spent in its impressive company.

    The track is accompanied by Record Forever, a smouldering blaze of melodic and funk pressed enterprise with again little nuances and shifts that surprise and further the open engagement. Not as immediate and ultimately as magnetic as its predecessor, the track washes over the emotions with a tender and respectful energy but again is unafraid to turn the temperature and urgency up in occasional moments to remain unpredictable in another proposition which holds a familiar appearance but with indefinable reasons.

     The release makes it easy to see why Northern American has drawn impressed and strong reactions to date and it is hard to imagine them not breaking out a much wider audience in preparation for their forthcoming full length. Wander does not light major fires in the passions but has them simmering quite nicely; a great introduction to a band with the potential to be a name on a tsunami of new excited lips ahead.


RingMaster 20/01/2014

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Fantasy Rainbow: Bos Taurus


From a conceived bedroom recording outfit, Fantasy Rainbow the one man project of UK teenager Oliver Catt has evolved quite remarkably. From a four track demo consisting of songs recorded with the help of friend Jonathan Coddington, things have just brewed and grown for the youngster. Over nine months from that first  release there has been the Teens EP, the Healthy Lung, Dirty Lung cassette, and another EP No Hope. Not Ever, all raising his stock with regular national airplay coming alongside building acclaim. Bos Taurus is the debut full length from Fantasy Rainbow, a release recorded in Nashville at  Jack White’s studio. Produced by  Ed Spear, the Heist Or Hit Records release offers eleven tracks which all grab attention and respect if rather undulating in achieving lasting satisfaction.

Without doubt Bos Taurus is a release which needs a few full listens before its persuasion begins to prove its case, which ultimately it does though for personal tastes it does not ignite any big sparks of ardour. It is a release with an abrasive air and raw voice but equally engages with warm expressive melodies and evocative passion. Initially the release was an album which was top and tailed with its best songs and felt too similar and thus flat in its middle on the ear, but given time and attention that passage evened out to a more consistent and enterprising passage, though those early stand out songs still remain the most potent and satisfying.

The release opens with Soda Scream and does not take long in pulling in interest and having feet tapping. A teasing guitar opens the song before leading into a platter of further inducements and eventually an energetic blend of jangling guitars, synth whispers, and vocal harmonies. There is a lovely discord to it all which  is the best element of the whole album. The song is brief but a great start to ensure a continued focus on the release.

New single Condominium follows with an undemanding but quite infectious presence, the lyrics and vocals of Catt emotive in their individual ways  within at first a gentle stroke shifting to a more distorted rub. You cannot say the song or others provoke deep thoughts or massive reactions but it easily makes its three minutes captivating and enjoyable.

The likes of the fuzzy and coarse Nothing But, the sonic whispering Portra, and the unrefined experience  Bread Biscuit leave one in a flux of delight but at times being unsure. The first two and another in between are strong but too similar to grab headlines whilst the latter is a track which feels out of place yet offers a needed balance to the warmer climes elsewhere, its harsh tones and scorched breath certainly a challenge.

As the home stretch beckons the album moves back into the melodic pop jangles which opened it, the excellent pair of O, Weirdo and Or; Comfort delivering simple sharp pop which is distinct in its squeezed melodies and stretched invention. Both songs are well crafted and full of intrigue as are the closing pair of Golf World and Tooth Ache, the first of the two one of the bigger highlights of the album. Again you can say there is a similarity across the final clutch of songs which only close focus reveals is not quite the fact but all are enjoyable and make for pleasing companions.

Bos Taurus is an album which leaves one content in its company if not hankering for its immediate return as much as with other releases. Fantasy Rainbow is still a project in evolution and one would not be surprised if a classic is unveiled in the future, in fact you almost expect it to happen at some point.

RingMaster 04/11/2012

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