Coming from LA, the sound of Britpop isn’t something you’d expect to hear from one of the state’s hottest new bands, but Northern American’s upcoming summer release Modern Phenomena gives us just that. I mean, it’s not Britpop in the fully-fledged bucket hats and ‘mad fer it’ sense, but the influences are there to be heard – whether deliberate or not.
It’s not an album that would totally belong in mid-90’s Britain, the LA 4 piece manage to build those influences into something really light, and summery; really putting the sea breeze of the East Coast America into the songs.
Beyond that, Northern American are a band who know what they want to create, without trying to hard to do it; it’s all natural. It’s also maybe to be expected when you understand how the band works – lead singer Nate Paul has gone on record as saying “we don’t get into the city grind, we’re more in tune with nature”, and this laid back attitude of the band is captured in the recordings.
Even the song writing duties are organic, with each member contributing across the process creating a cohesive sound and giving a real fluidity, with the help of producer Raymond Richards, who has previously worked with LA compatriots Local Natives.
The lead single from Modern Phenomena is the albums closing track, ‘Elysian’. A beautiful guitar riff floats over the whole song, building and building, to a glistening finish. It’s a self-assured end to the album, surely destined for the jukebox of summer. The opening track ‘Feel Like Whatever’ has a bit more of a swagger; the carefree attitude that permeates throughout, and sets the tone for the albums other tracks.
Elysian by Northern American
The way the band allows the album to flow can occasionally cause the album to by pass you at times; it’s almost too easy to listen to. The middle of the album almost blends together, and although the cohesion does make for a nice listen, it doesn’t really reach any great peak – although, I guess that’s the point, it’s not even a criticism really.
It’s a debut album from a band who are still finding their formula, yet it still has an identity and a flow. They can clearly work together and are doing things the way they want. There’s a self-confidence that doesn’t really break into arrogance – more an understanding of who they are, and who they are growing into as a band. There’s enough in this album to get people excited. The May 18 release sets it up perfectly for summer as Northern American look to bring the LA sun to our shores, and they are very welcome.
Reviewer: Darren Montgomery