The Music - Welcome To The North
Rob Harvey - Vocals
Phil Jordan - Drums
Adam Nutter - Guitar
Stuart Coleman - Bass
If you've not heard "The Music" by now, check your pulse. Exploding onto mainstream radio just under two years ago, they've become another example of the fine young talent that the UK has been exporting for some time. Essentially, The Music are "a bunch of kids who've grown up in public". At least, that is how they describe themselves. Forming in the music room of their high school in Leeds, this quartet was thrust onto the worldwide scene with the release of their debut self-titled album in September 2002. Just over two years later, they're back with a sophomore effort that is poised to solifidy their position with their extensive fanbase, as well as attract new listeners.
The distinct style of The Music is one of the reasons I discovered them. A friend had described them to me as "sounding a bit like The Stone Roses." Being a Roses fan, I made a mental note to check them out, having only heard the "Take The Long road And Walk It" single (and liking it). A few months later, I got around to listening to their debut album, and have been kicking myself ever since for not doing it faster. The Music are superb in their execution. Like the Roses, they have a sound that as indisputably influenced by electronic music. Wheather it be in Phil Jordans frantic 4/4 drumming or post-production percussion, or Adam Nutter's lush, effects-laden riffs, or the many layers of additional sounds that create a great listening pexerience, there is no denying that The Music have carved themselves a niche, and are comfortable in it.
From the get-go, this album piqued my interest. So without further ado...
1 - Welcome To The North
Opening with a lush, swirling arpeggio, this track is a great example of what give the music their individuality. Rob Harveys distinctive high-pitched voice constrasts with Phil Nutters jagged riffs. With a middle-eastern type of vibe to it, and loaded with interesting guitar work, this song is uplifting without being cheesy or pretentious, a difficult feat.
2 - Freedom Fighters
The second track on the record is one that really interests me. A straightforward rock and roll song, through Nutter's use of effects, it has this utterly etheral quality that drive the riffs and vocals to new heights.
3 - Bleed From Within
Lots of interesting percussion on this track. Strip away the instruments, and you have a decent sounding house music backbeat in the background. Yet another example of how this band can incorporate other styles of music into
their own successfully. Excellent breakdown and build-ups. Nice vocal work as well.
4 - Breakin'
With some cool guitar work, percussion, and a very poppy, U2-ish hook to it, this is another slick addition to the record. Rob's scat-like vocals in certain parts add an interesting improv-sounding element to the music, and again, gets the point across without sounding lazy.
5 - Cessation
More upbeat than other tracks on the album. A high energy, straightforward rock song, nothing spectacular but enjoyable to listen to.
6 - Fight The Feeling
The first ballady type track no the record. As I expected, it's good. Adam's distant, spacey arpeggios set the tone on a beautiful verse, however the chorus is rather weak and doesn't do the justice to the rest of the song. It starts to drone on after a while. Shame, the verse really caught my attention.
7 - Guide
I have to say, this track reminds me of some of the stuff Primal Scream did on Xtrmntr, which is DEFINITELY a good thing. Adam's interesting guitar work and Stuarts bassline really take control of this track, which drifts in and out of a driving, steady verse into a melodic chorus. A good all around track.
8 - Into The Night
Weak. That is the only thing I can say on this track. It's utterly boring, and I could only tolerate about a minute and a half of it before I was dying to skip it. The verse and chorus lack any intensity or conviction. It does nothing to hold your interest, and considering what I've come to expect from the first half of the record, it is completely sub-par. This just reminds me of bad pop. Decent bass playing, however.
9 - I Need Love
Nice little tremolo picked opener. The 4/4 rythym and guitar riff totally suit the track. The chorus of "I need love" is a little chees and redundant, but again, it suits the song. Thus is the style of The Music. Luckily, The Music are aware of how to properly execute a song with repeating rythyms, and they do tend to keep it interesting.
10 - One Way In, No Way Out
A slow tempo, riff based monster, Adam's atmospheric yet agressive riffs again set the tone for the entire song. The chorus is a little too "big" and melodic to fit the track, in my opinion, but it carries itself out strongly and doesn't do too much damage to the overall vibe.
11 - Open Your Mind
The final cut on this record, Open Your Mind is a slow, uplifting song that does a nice job of closing things out. Again, lush, etheral sounds penetrate through the instruments to create a surrounding layer of music that makes you just want to close your eyes and truly LISTEN.
OVERALL: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: out of a possible five.
Although the album tends to lag a bit in the last half, it is still definitely worth a listen. A solid sophmore effort, I have to give credit to their production team. It was extremely well done, the samples and sounds added post-production give the record a whole new meaning, and take it from being a simple straightforward rock record into a total aural experience. In a word, this record is LUSH. It's warm, pleasing to listen to, and features some killer instrumental work. If you're a fan of The Music, or rock/eletronica hybrid bands, you may want to check this out. It's an appealing record for music listeners from many genres, and that is one of the things that makes The Music so spectacular.