Northbound

Death Of A Slug

Written by: PP on 24/01/2016 21:41:16

Hailing from Florida, the breeding ground for so much awesome in punk rock ranging from FEST to No Idea Records and the beloved Gainesville sound, Northbound unsurprisingly sound like the sum of their influences from having attended a few too many FESTs in a row. "Death Of A Slug" is technically their third album, even though it is a heavily reworked version of their 2014 album. Back then, Northbound was primarily a solo project so five of the ten songs on the record were acoustic and heavily leaning on emo. In this constellation, they are hardly recognizable from the originals as a full band has been added to give the songs some muscle and distorted melodies instead.

Listening to "Death Of A Slug", you'll immediately start recognizing an array of familiar sounds and influences to music of this kind. Basically, the record combines the dreamy, extended post-hardcore of Basement (on their debut album) with the melodramatic alternative rock of The Wonder Years' later material, all the while dropping parallels to the likes of Citizen, Light Years, and even Modern Baseball in the process. In practice, the vocals are slow and consist mostly of lengthy croons - think Title Fight on "Shed" - while the guitars range from atmospheric, grunge-influenced expansive riffs to breakneck speed, d-beat driven punk rock in equal measure. "Leech" echoes Balance & Composure in its deliberate midpoint between post-hardcore and alternative rock, whereas "Everyone But Me" kicks off with lightning speed tempo and a distinct punk rock base. Later on the album, melancholic emotional croons take a front seat, but the expression is still deliberately sluggish to add intensity and depth to the atmosphere.

That's all well and good, because, after all, we've heard dozens of bands playing with similar dynamics to their advantage once the style was popularized by Title Fight and Balance And Composure among others some years ago. The problem with Northbound is, however, that the songs are not particularly memorable. They float and drone forward at a relatively unflashy manner, toying with pop punk but never going far enough with the catchy choruses, nor creating enough back-chilling melodies for the depth-laden approach to work either (see: Basement on "Colourmeinkindness" for a great example. Despite a multitude of active listens over the past two weeks, the album fails to stick into this scribe's mind. Decent songs, but oddly forgettable compared to their peers.

Download: Everyone But Me, Leech, The Effort Is Never Worth The Outcome
For the fans of: Basement, Citizen, Light Years, Modern Baseball
Listen: Facebook

Release date 30.06.2015
Animal Style Records

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