North Lincoln

Midwestern Blood

Written by: PP on 28/07/2009 04:58:30

The sound of nostalgia. That's the best way to describe North Lincoln's sophomore album "Midwestern Blood" in one sentence. Think of how singers from bands like Hot Water Music and Latterman fill the atmosphere with passionately delivered emotional vocals to the extent that it'd be possible to cut pieces of it away with a knife. Well, this is it ladies and gentlemen, punk doesn't get any more atmospheric than this outside a Hot Water Music or, to compare it to something more recent, a Polar Bear Club release.

The raspy, hoarse vocals that sometimes cross over to scream territory but do so rarely enough not be an annoyance emit a plethora of urgency and immediacy into the band's sloppy punk rock, effectively placing North Lincoln halfway between melodic rock and melodic punk. They come across as how you'd image a Latterman, Hot Water Music and Jawbreaker side project to sound like. The songs are slightly more punk than those of Polar Bear Club but equally anthemic - though not in terms of size rather than their ability to enthrall the listener with a strong sense of nostalgia hanging all around the soundscape.

While every track on the record defines the word solid with an underline, there are a couple of astonishing gems stuffed in between. A word of advice though: we're not listening to Fall Out Boy so these babies won't hatch before a good couple of listens in, but if you're patient enough you will be heftily rewarded. "Spy", for instance, starts with a rumbling bass-line and warm guitar riffs, soon developing into monster catchy territory thanks to Kevin Nunn's raspy shouts taking you back to "Fuel For The Hate Game"-era Hot Water Music. "Bridge Jumpers" sees the band at their most melodic, featuring an attention-grabbing clean chorus that's still scratchy enough to fortify the Midwestern punk feel of the song. And here's where the key ingredient of North Lincoln really comes to focus - John Massel's percussion is nothing short of amazing. You so often hear talk about punk drummers being boring, but the reality is that as soon as you've got a talented man behind the set, the songs easily skyrocket into amazing territory quicker than you'd imagine. That's why the Polar Bear Club-esque "Morals" works so bloody well, for instance. As soon as Massel bangs the shit out of those drums, adding an interesting roll here, another one there, the song just moves to another level. But the best is yet to come. Mid-paced "Weight Of The World" contains the most intense expression of passion on the whole record with the additional down-tuned trombone (for the lack of a better expression) in the background bringing Attack In Black's "Marriage" into mind. It is here that Kevin's vocals are especially drenched in emotion, and when they cross over into the half-screamed territory while bassist Beckwith delivers smooth melodic clean croons on the background... well lets just say that hairs will rise on your back.

While songs like "Siblings", "Seasons" or "No Turning Back" may not be as overwhelmingly grabbing as "Weight Of The World" is, they're still great songs characterized by heartfelt passion for the music and the music only. Forget about image, hair cuts, scene politics and all that superficial crap, North Lincoln write intelligent punk rock with a great sense of nostalgia, perfect for filling the void left by Hot Water Music, which is what all the songs on "Midwestern Blood" are testament to.

Download: Weight Of The World, Morals, Spy, Bridge Jumpers
For the fans of: Hot Water Music, Latterman, Polar Bear Club, Jawbreaker
Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.06.2009
No Idea Records

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