Monday, November 1, 2010

Album Review: "Southern Rescue Trails" by North Elementary

Southern Rescue Trails was released September 24 on 307 Knox

Chapel Hill's North Elementary put out their sixth LP back in September with "Southern Rescue Trails" on 307 Knox Records.  The band uniquely combines crunchy, distorted guitar riffs with infectous synth lines for a very interesting sound once you throw lead singer and songwriter John Harrison's gritty voice into the mix.  The band will be playing at Troika Music Festival this weekend in Durham

The album opens up with a track that catches your attention right away due to the sheer immensity of it.  "It Comes To Everyone" boasts what North Elementary does best, a very well layered song that features interesting vocal melodies, a powerful chorus, an addictive synth line, and that familiar sound of most Chapel Hill indie rock with the chunky guitar parts.  Songs like "Sharp Ghost Mind" and "War for Kicks" are other standouts on the album.  "Sharp Ghost Mind" hooks you in immediately with a guitar riff and drum beat that are sure to get your head bobbing along and the song, much like the rest of the ones on the album, has an excellent build-up to a climax that leaves you fulfilled.  Each song feels like it ends right where it should, none feeling too long and none feeling too short.  "War for Kicks" on the other hand has a much poppier sound, feeling much more synth-based than other songs on the album.

One thing about "Southern Rescue Trails" that makes it stand out amongst the crowd is that no two songs sound the same, take "Southern Elevators" for example.  While the rest of the album has a lot fuller of a sound, "Southern Elevators" is more stripped down, featuring a banjo and a violin, showcasing a side of Harrison's voice that isn't seen elsewhere on the record, sounding a bit happier than the rest of the album and more carefree.  The vocal harmonies in this album are also something that need to be mentioned, because they are very well done.  Betty Rupp's voice compliments Harrison's in a way that really evens out the songs and makes them feel complete.

So in conclusion, North Elementary have done it yet again.  While most bands putting out their sixth full length would notice a bit of a falling off, North Elementary continue to consistently put out good records.  Be sure to check out the band's set at Troika on Friday at Motorco at 8:00 P.M. with Wesley Wolfe, The Sames, and Dillon Fence.

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