The Steady Progression

In cultureShock, Entertainment by Erich Cella

As Robert Harvey proclaims “Dance for the freedom,” you might roll your eyes at the apparent absurdity present but the beauty and musical bliss will make you believe.

This feeling persists to be the theme throughout their second album, “Welcome to the North.” They might tread through treacherous terrain, mixing pop rock and progressive rock, but the groovy riffs and catchy hooks are impossible to ignore.

Their breakthrough debut, that was packed with monolithic instrumentals and overly eccentric 70’s rock, had a different swagger than the more sweeping and textured sound in their follow-up.

They are a band with a world of talent and a singer who emulates Geddy Lee in every way but this group has flown under the radar for the past two years after their first album dropped.

They were very much rough around the edges in their first album as they repeatedly used Robert Harvey’s pipes to carry the song while guitarist Phil Jordan matched it with simple riffs that became somewhat tiresome.

It’s just exciting to see how “The Music” have matured to the point where Harvey has incorporated himself into the collection of songs and his voice is more proscribed but much more effectual.

An illustration of this would be the progression of Soundgarden from “Louder than Love” to “Superunknown” as Chris Cornell got away from his somewhat overbearing high pitched wail and went to a more controlled scream.

The enthusiasm and elation that overwhelms me comes from the aspect that they’ve only been a band for a few years but have improved at an outlandish pace. It took Soundgarden from 1987 to 1994 to perfect their sound while “The Music” seems to rapidly improve at a remarkable rate.

Another aspect apparent to me that wasn’t immediately pleasing was the inclusion of pertinent and affirmative ballads, but after a few listens it was surprisingly satisfying.

It’s essential in breaking up the long string of hip, rock anthems that can get monotonous. There is also more of an emphasis on harmony and sense of direction as they meander through hoards of melodies and striking hooks in every epic exercise.

“Open Your Mind” is filled with sonic mastery but it’s disguised with British rock weepiness. It begins in a generic manner but explodes into an orchestral masterpiece that is unpredictable and uniquely powerful.

“Into The Night” can best be described as an uplifting and sunny tune that builds on its foundation until the poignant construction of Harvey’s cry out for support is fully realized.

The welcome addition of emotional and self realized intensity puts a face on the band that was not visible in their past effort. The gloomy but also inspirational “Fight The Feeling,” is the calming of a storm in the album giving a release from the first four gusty and substantial operas.

This is not to say that “The Music” has utterly abandoned their sensational rock theatrics for a psychological rebirth or internal cleansing. They actually add an element of anger and audacity to the grooves and buoyant stimuli that they already hold so true.

The concentration of bleakness in “Welcome To The North” gives the band a much needed layer of depth that gives them the credibility to appeal to an indie rock circuit.

“Bleed From Within” is a graphic depiction of someone who has suppressed distressful anxieties that are pouring out over the gaps of emptiness in their immature soul.

The growth and innocent decay is so refreshing as this tight assembly of musical teenagers are shedding their protective skin.

“I need Love ” and “Cessation” are immediate and applicable romps that will raise the hairs on your arms or increase the testosterone running through your system. These are more radio friendly and accessible to an audience who are hearing “The Music” for the first time and have to let it sink in before they can appreciate the comp

lete package.

The amalgamation of intricate melodies and crunchy licks along with the intense concentrated attack makes “The Music” a formidable force in 2004.

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