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Fear & Desire
Rock Ridge Music

The hyperbole circulating at Smother.net about Mrnorth's album on Rock Ridge Music entitled Fear & Desire about being a stellar disc are highly accurate, I think. Vocalist/guitarist Colin Smith, guitarist Emmett O'Malley, bassist/keyboardist Oisin O'Malley, and drummer Adrian Mondaunt, who form Mrnorth, put together an ambitious and gratifying album. Produced by Steve Lyon (The Cure, Depeche Mode), the album latches lustrous orchestral updrafts with classical piano and modern rock spires. The synchronized elements are energetic and melodically glossed, shifting the movements from muscular to limbering, and piloting the tempo changes between full throttle and leisurely ladled as the chords are winded tightly and loosely linked integrally.

The valleys and peaks of the rhythmic motions radiate an Offspring allure, The Killers' confident strut, and Aerosmith's affinity for juiced up melodies and personalized vocal inflections. The rock ballad "Sleeping Dogs" is reminiscent of a cool Aerosmith tune with huge waves of emotional releases in the vocal valves and the guitar solo which blazes vibrantly across the melodic domain. The poetic versing in the lyrical content penetrates human emotions like the track "The Players" when Smith broods: "My love is gone/ She found a new home/ Said it's time she got moving/ She thinks it's all dead and gone/ But that's my heart she's chewing/ I want to bury my head in sand/ I found my home - bars and clubs." The track has an Offspring voicing burrowed in Smith's vocal registers and the brulee of guitar vibrations.

The heavy tones on "So Many Things" are prinked with trembling drum rolls and escalating guitar arcs akin to Wolfmother, while the tingling glint in the guitar strobes are juiced with tangy drum blasts on "Waking the Dead" having a likeness to The Killers' melodic sensibilities. The heated synergy emitting from the jumpy keyboards complement the lightly striking drums and copulate with the elongated vocal swags that fife through the wistful ballad "So Long Love." The textures are fleshy and the rhythm rolls are organically pulsed.

The album's orchestral slates are deeply expressed in the opening suite "Overture" with a gorgeous symphonic violin score, and the piece "Overture Reprise" that adheres a gentle classic piano embroidery to a foreboding horn arrangement and soaring strings. Both orchestral pieces move into billowing pop/rock heaps converging the lush girth of the bass knolls to the melodic formations. "Love Is", which precedes "Overture", is a comely number colonized from graceful hooks, brooding inflections, and spearing chords. "For The Moment" precedes "Overture Reprise" which interlocks stunning strings with hypnotic drum cycles and cavernous horns melodically curved and merging snugly. The scintillating guitar riff on "In The Country" is interposed with filaments that thicken and thin out alternately.

The final two tracks place a folksy shaft through the pop/rock spatiality. "Where No One Else Can See" breeds a Chris Cornell acoustic sensitivity amidst a Crossfade propulsion. "Rope" transfixes episodes of luminous guitar slides along a soft piano tempo. The match grip in the drum strikes and the dainty bass furrows are groped by searing vocal inflections. The album concludes with an opulent string assortment in the outro, which tops the disc with an elated mood.

Mrnorth's album Fear & Desire caramelizes orchestral and rock elements beautifully. Bands like Queen and Guns 'N Roses have dabbled and experimented with such mixtures, but Mrnorth carved out their own sound unlike their predecessors. Their songs expand the breadth of pop/rock's field while maintaining the songs melodic adhesives. All the hyperboles connected to this band are well justified. Their level of creativity and production is very high, their affinity for the music they play is monumental, and hopefully it will always be this way for them.

-Susan Frances

Track listing:
1. Overture
2. Love Is
3. For The Cheater And The Cheated
4. Waking The Dead
5. So Many Things
6. The Player
7. Sleeping Dogs
8. Overture Reprise
9. For The Moment
10. So Long Love
11. In The Country
12. Where No Else Can See
13. Rope

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