Northern American – Wander

 

   northernamerican

    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.

http://northernamerican.us/

7.5/10

RingMaster 20/01/2014

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Funeral Suits : Lily Of The Valley

Sometimes an album comes along to elevate anticipation and expectations nurtured through previous releases far beyond what was imagined. Such is the case with Lily Of The Valley from Irish indie band Funeral Suits. Based on a trio of singles there was a keen belief that an album would match and please as much but there was no real indication of the unsettling mesmeric aural swarm that was coming. Individually the songs contained within the album are not strikingly better or worse than the already unveiled songs which also find a place on Lily Of The Valley, but as a whole there is a much deeper and absorbing experience going on than from songs taken alone.

    Funeral Suits has created an album with on the surface an underwhelming diversity but with a deeply expressive breath, each track playing like a limb or organ within a vibrant emotive body. They have an intelligent and warming similarity across them but taken one away and there is a hole the others cannot fill, and given the fullest of focus one does find a beautifully crafted and imagined individuality to the songs.

From North Country Dublin the quartet of Brian James, Mik McKeogh, Greg McCarthy and Dar Grant has spent two years creating the album and that attention and time spent pours from each carefully and thoughtfully placed note, word, and passion. Released June 4th through Model Citizen Records and produced by Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur), the album is a stunning enveloping heart borne piece of composing. It does not arguably ignite the fiercest of fires at any point but rather wraps itself around and within mind and senses for a further reaching and fuller impact. From their 2011 debut single Colour Fade the band has gained an ever growing mass of devotees and acclaim. The further singles as well as shared stages with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Passion Pit, The Maccabees, and Local Natives plus appearances at SXSW, Great Escape and Reading/Leeds Festival the same year have only reinforced their increasing stature, something the album will surely explode in dramatic style.

The album opens with Mary’s Revenge and takes no time in capturing the ear with vocals harmonies and electronic waves of sound. The deep Tubeway Army like electronic melody is an instant beckoning as guitars scramble the air with their discord and impressive voice. The track is an exceptional electro pop song but with a bite and intent which brings deeper intrigue and an unsettling energy to its pulsating mass. By its end the track has overwhelmed the ear with a heavy whisper to elevate it wonderfully from just mere pop.

   Colour Fade and Health, two of the previous singles come next, the first an immersive enchantment of simple heart and mesmeric beauty from vocals and music. The crystalline melodies sparkle against the thumping rhythms and niggling guitars for an undemanding but attention seeking piece of music. Health is very different, from its awakening atmosphere and flexing electro muscles the song stamps its authority across the senses with punchy rhythms and lingering acidic guitars. Both songs are the perfect entry point to the band alone but within the album gain an even fuller resonance and height.

Tracks like the newest single All Those Friendly People with its shadowed anthemic undertow, the emotive enchantment that is We Only Attack Ourselves with its wonderful dark stringed vein, and Stars and Spaceships are further highlights, though there is not a weakness or lull in the sweltering invention and consuming ingenuity anywhere. The third of these three is a mesmeric and equally disarming track which encapsulates the band and its impressive creativity alone.

Ending on the haunting and sinister I Still Love The High, a song of emotive grandeur seemingly disentangled from the sounds around it, the album is truly impressive and impossible to leave without at least one more swim within its warm beauty and darkened depths. Funeral Suits unveiled their promise with the singles, Lily of the Valley realises it and more for the most gratifying experience you could wish for.

Ringmaster 31/05/2012

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