Saturday, January 31, 2009

North Elementary: Not for Everyone, Just for You

North Elementary

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Having just recently and finally given up on trying to read, absorb and understand everyone's "best of 08" lists, listening to North Elementary’s Not for Everyone, Just for You, has provided me a much needed head start on the same lists for 09 as this album will likely be perched high upon many of them. There exists a unique character in the composition of this album that centers the arrangement of spongy synth sounds and grainy, biting, over-driven guitars while back staging vocals and lyrics. Leading with instruments and supporting with vocals defines a cultivated artistic style and back drops this album in it's own universe.

Half way through the first track I snapped to attention with realization that my ticket for a mind trip had just been punched. The radiant specter of grainy stretchy synth haunts the album with wailing sustains that bewitch awareness away from since of place and enrapture it in an untrained medium of its own creation. Like a good movie that journeys you somewhere, anywhere, apart from the commonplace, its mellow expansive night sky arrangements and out bound electric shrieks of guitars and keys introduce the mind to new and interesting surroundings.

Not for Everyone, Just for You is setting the bar high for local releases in 09. Cycling through sharp-edged rasp of a driven guitars and animalistic squelches of synth pulls and tugs listeners deeper into the album. Lyrically discrete and instrumentally emboldened, new meanings, feelings, and understandings of this album are found with each listen.

Enjoying the entire album, I do still find myself gravitating to a few in particular. The howling bellow of and eerily distant "Decade Styling" provides a signature for the album. The lo-fi alt country pull and urgent brit-pop push of "Golden Tigers" strikes an interesting contrast and grasps attention. The clean bouncy chord crunches on "I'm not foolin'" mark a cheerful and poppy 60's beach rock vibe before the lead riff interrupts the tea party by knocking the door down, kicking the tray through the window and eating all the cookies. These songs and the rest of the album are interesting because the arrangements strike hard opposing contrast and then in the same movement attract and solidify.

Not for Everyone, Just for You is further proof that one doesn't have to look beyond the three walls of our own town to find the best indie music being made today. I'm looking forward to a boon year for local bands gaining national attention and North Elementary is sounding the bugle and leading the charge.

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  1. Hey John, I preordered on Feb. 3rd. I can only hope I was one of the first 10 so I can get the upgrade, super deluxe NE package. regardless, I am excited about getting the new album! See you tonight probably @ 506. Hugs, Ashli

  2. Nice review! I've been really enjoying this record as well.