King of Sweden
Record Review by Adam McKibbin
Beauty in the form of music can be extremely ambiguous, as many people have different opinions as to what makes a prime piece of music. However, A Northern Chorus play what could perhaps be the universal definition of beautiful music. On Bitter Hands Resign, their fourth full length release, they give something to everyone.
This is a grand CD to listen to while being stuck in massive traffic jams. The way cellist/vocalist Alex McMaster whimpers out every lyric makes you feel mellow and at ease. As the songs progress through their various movements, the traffic just seems to untangle and suddenly you are where you needed to be, without the anxiety that you might arrive with otherwise.
I cannot overstress the originality of A Northern Chorus: every song is so intricately woven together that it's easy to get lost in the guitar distortion and never want to find your way back. The instruments and vocals are all so very coy and understated, yet the simplicity of it all makes it that more refined. It seems that the more modest a band’s music is, the more they are exposing their true colors. It's easy to hide behind a double bass pedal, a handful of power chords and some noisy screaming, but you won't get that from A Northern Chorus. They give you their most honest, bare-bones, elegant and airy melodies.
A Northern Chorus is frequently compared to Death Cab for Cutie, Explosions in the Sky, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Despite sharing a few traits, these bands are all drastically different from each other. A Northern Chorus separates themselves by following their own advice, which McMaster sings in the opening song: don’t let yourself become an accessory to mediocrity.
More by this writer:
Salim Nourallah - Interview
The Explorers Club - Freedom Wind
Shannon McArdle - Summer of the Whore
Coldplay - X & Y