Review : Great Northern - Remind Me Where The Light Is
PrefixmagIf 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.
There’s something to be said for giving the people what they want -- or at least, what they already know. Great Northern does that here without wholly buffing down all their edges. The disc’s opener, "Story," is slightly dreamy, with Rachel Stolte’s lovely vocals alternately moving from urgent to soaring against a lush backdrop of bells and guitars. "Fingers" begins as a sparse, hushed, noir lament and builds to a catchy, and very nearly orchestral, variant on pop. "Stop," softly sung by guitarist/vocalist Solon Bixler, is a cross between a lullaby and dirge. "Mountain," meanwhile, feels and sounds epic and expansive in every single way, with drummer Davey Latter and bassist Ashley Dzerigian contributing heavily to the song’s wall of sound. Clearly, this is a band of talented musicians with the skills to write grandiose songs. ...full text
SpinHaving survived guitar bands both forgettable (Whirlpool) and regrettable (30 Seconds to Mars), Los Angelenos Rachel Stolte and Solon Bixler started over with intimate, piano-led dream-pop duets on their 2007 debut as Great Northern. But for the follow-up, they revert to big, heroic guitars -- should-be single "Houses" even recalls not-too-shabby U2. Unfortunately, the newfound confidence doesn't extend to lyrics rife with nonspecific, mixed-metaphorical angst ("It's the weight of the world we run to") that smacks of the overwrought youth demo they've otherwise outgrown....full text
PitchforkIdeally 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).
The L.A.-based electro-rock act Great Northern (ironically a pretty Google-unfriendly moniker) make the kind of music that just happens to be perfect for selling things or setting scenes. Unsurprisingly, the band's first album performed both feats, placing songs in ads as well as on both the big and small screens-- "Low Is a Height" even soundtracked a couple of really awesome NBA commercials a year ago that utilized a split-screen gimmick to depict a pair of star hoopsters discussing the importance of the upcoming playoffs. The bad news is that as a roundball junkie I saw these commercials dozens of times, and yet not only was I never once inspired to track down the ad's tune, even listening to it now I can't place it in my memory in conjunction with that commercial. Meanwhile (and I know this is cheating since I already knew and loved the song), I remember somewhat embarrassingly getting a little choked up by the spot where Steve Nash was talking over Radiohead's "House of Cards" (ah, Stevie, will you ever get that ring?)....full text
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