If this album were a movie, its tagline would read: "Hypnotic.
Elating. Addictive. And they're barely drinking age." For
a band whose debut album struck many as being mealy Britpop at
its most mediocre, they've come a long way in two years. Welcome
to the North is a lean, mean dancing machine. Gone are the
masturbatory jam sessions and the faltering lyrics. Gone is the
awkward attempt at cramming every possible genre into each song.
What's left is a clean, crisp, powerful album, skillfully blending
influences instead of sloppily piling them on top of each other.
Part of their newfound coherence probably comes from coming of
age in the high-pressure, high profile music industry. Part of
it comes from sheer practice. Part of it obviously comes from
the pure talent that was even detectable in their debut. But part
of it almost certainly comes from teaming up with Southern Tracks
Studio producing guru, Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam,
Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden). Spending
a few weeks in Hotlanta with the godfather of grunge is bound
to make their album smokin'. Some of that good ol' southern grit
is more apparent in some tracks than others (see "Freedom
Fighters"), but the clarity of vision and direction is an
all-pervasive effect of O'Brien's masterful touch.
Yep, their first album might have put them on the map, but Welcome
to the North is the album that is going to keep them there.
The Music is definitely worth a listen.
1. Welcome to the North
2. Freedom Fighters
3. Breed 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
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