Review: Jack Foley
THEY may wear their Northern roots on their sleeves, but thankfully
The Music have decided to extend their reach further than that,
for their sophomore effort, Welcome To The North.
Having teamed up with producer, Brendan O'Brien (who has worked
with everyone from Pearl Jam to Soundgarden), the quartet travelled
to Atlanta, Georgia, to record it - bringing in elements of US
rock outfits such as Jane's Addiction, as well as the out-and-out
rock power of Led Zeppelin.
So while elements of what helped to make earlier singles, such
as The People and Getaway, from the first album,
are still present and correct, there is a greater sense of diversity,
which works to its advantage.
It's still relentlessly gritty, loud and old school - as epitomised
by recent single, Freedom Fighters - but there is greater
depth to it.
Bleed From Within, for instance, allows Robert Harvey's
vocals to take centre stage, opening with the haunting opening
salvo 'a shot rings out across the desert sky, the sun is bleeding
into my eye', before unleashing its breakneck drums and fiery
Yet, it features a number of breakdowns, giving the listener
a little more pause for breath than usual - an example of the
band's growing maturity?
It is during such moments that Harvey's vocals do bear close
scrutiny with former Jane's Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell
- but this is no bad thing.
Indeed, such is the expansive nature of the album as a whole,
that The Music quickly do away with fears that they are mere one-trick
ponies - emerging as the sort of rock outfit that could sit equally
as comfortably on either side of the Atlantic.
And while the breakneck style won't be to everyone's taste, the
rock die-hards among you can't fail to be impressed.
Other highlights include the urgent Breakin, with its
'uh-ho, uh-ho' chorus that is sure to guarantee it live favourite
status, and Guide, with its chiming guitars, and Sixties-reaching
psychedelia. It's probably the closest the band will ever get
to a ballad, yet it doesn't even come close to sounding sentimental.
The brooding Fight The Feeling provides another compulsive
listen, which again refrains from the band's more aggressive tendencies,
while the likes of Into The Night and One Way In,
No Way Out line-up as possible rock anthems of the future,
with guitar riffs and drum beats to die for.
Open Your Mind brings things to an epic finale, effortlessly
combining all of the winning elements that help to make the album
work so well as a whole, and ensuring that The Music will figure
strongly come the year end accolades.
Welcome to the North is the sort of invitation that
indie-rock fans would be foolish to turn their back on. The album
looks destined to become a classic in its own right.
1. Welcome To The North
2. Freedom Fighters
3. Bleed From Within
6. Fight The Feeling
8. Into The Night
9. I Need Love
10. One Way In, No Way Out
11. Open Your Mind
12. The Walls Get Smaller (hidden track)