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Monday, August 22, 2016

A Northern Chorus -- Bitter Hands Resign


Pretty much any band that made ethereal, yet powerful music in the mid-00's was referred to as "the Sigur Rós of (insert country)," except for Sigur Rós, who were simply referred to as "Sigur Rós." A Northern Chorus, who received this comparison with "Canada" in the parenthetical, do indeed make ethereal, delicate, wintry music, punctuated by intense bursts of emotional release. However, simply declaring a band as the "___" version of anything is lazy journalism, and...I am really impressed with the little quotation marks face I just made.
A Northern Chorus sounds like their own version of themselves on the only album by them I own, Bitter Hands Resign. Songs take their time, building in gentle guitar lines and strings, drums and bass creating deep but minimal rhythms, and then the songs explode. The vocals are a soft falsetto, and rarely rise above that, falling out when the music brings the fireworks. This is a very original album, conjuring vast, snowy landscapes like few I have ever heard, but coupled with a comforting warmth, like making it home to a fire-lit house after a horse-drawn carriage ride through a blizzard.

2005 Sonic Unyon Records
1. The Shepherd & The Chauffeur 5:47
2. Subjects & Matter 6:29
3. This Open Heart 8:08
4. Watershed Divide 3:31
5. Prisoners of Circumstance 7:29
6. Costa del Sol 6:56
7. Don't Think of Collapse 6:49
8. Winterize 4:36

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