- by Rob Taylor Release Date:2017-02-10 Label: Yep Roc
‘Hello Old Friend’, a familiar 1960s sentiment, the opening lyric on ‘Riverview Fog’ warms the listener with a complicit familiarity, the Byrdsian vibe at once nostalgic and welcoming, the light jangle and confident harmony a wonderful entry point to the latest by The Sadies, Northern Passages.
Ever since I heard ‘A Burning Snowman’ from Favourite Colours all those years back, I’ve been in love with the panoramic and spatially beautiful pop country of The Sadies. With Northern Passages they’ve produced one of their most self-assured works. Northern Passages plays like the greatest album The Byrds never wrote with the exception of spikier punk country sojourns, ‘Another Season Again’ and ‘There Are No Words’ which show off a cross-grained influence not so easily connected to the 1960s, one that draws from cinema and punk in equal measures.
‘God Bless The Infidels’ however has strong reminiscences of Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers, the historical referencing impeccable. Overall, these nods to the ornate daydreams of early revisionist country are lovingly revealed, with sound as authentic as Gene Clark playing with the Gosdin Brothers. All evidence of the diverse musical paintbox of The Sadies, managing an appraisal of all that's good about alternative country without losing any perception of authenticity.
Which brings me to ‘As Above So Below’. An everlasting country pop song of such magnificence that the one can only marvel at it, with the same degree of reverence one might regard the Aurora Borealis which adorns the front cover.