Release Date: Apr 28, 2009
Record label: Eenie Meenie
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Great Northern's sophomore album paints the same atmospheric, panoramic vista as 2007's Trading Twilight for Daylight, but it does so with a wider brush, replacing the quieter moments of the previous album with soaring guitars and wide-eyed, arena-bound anthems. There are some slower songs here, most notably "Stop" -- the same sort of nuanced indie dirge that Margot & the Nuclear So and So's execute so well -- and "New Tricks," where electronic drums boom beneath piles of gothic harmonies and haunted-house ambience. Such songs are merely palette cleansers for the album's meatier numbers, though, which pit Rachel Stolte's alto vocals against Solon Bixler's sonic swells.
If Remind Me Where the Light Is is any indication, in the battle between sonic ambition and career ambition, Great Northern has taken sides with the latter camp. The L.A.-based four-piece’s LP is filled with brand-new songs that you’ll vaguely recognize. And that’s the problem: It’s hard to identify exactly what’s special about an album that sounds so uncannily like so much other music.
Ideally for a band, getting a song played in a commercial or during a TV show or film shouldn't merely be a means of putting money in its pockets. There's always the concurrent hope that people will be so moved, turned on, or at least intrigued by the song that they'll hunt down the tune and artist. We've all done it-- memorize a snatch of the lyrics and then either hit up Google or consult the sage minds who respond to queries at Yahoo! Answers (you might even find out how to drywall while you're at it).
Great Northern are a band from Los Angeles, and they’ve previously released an album, Trading Twilight for Daylight, and an EP, Sleepy Eepee (which was recorded before the debut but re-released last year). Still, Remind Me Where the Light Is, the band’s second LP, has the feeling of a debut. Maybe that’s the problem: Although Sleepy Eepee seemed an enjoyable listen at the time, it has also proved to be largely forgettable, as Great Northern have faded into the great unwashed mass of indie-pop boy-girl groups.
I put this on my stereo and almost instantly, found myself nodding appreciatvely. Pounding drumbeats, gritty guitars, the kind of thrashing glam stomp that never fails to capture my attention. 30 seconds into their 2nd album and Great Northern manage to tick every box in the GaragePunk questionnaire. Two things made me listen a little more closely though.