Tall North - Tall North - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Tall North - Tall North

by Kevin Orton Rating:10 Release Date:2018-07-01
Tall North - Tall North
Tall North - Tall North

There’s a ton of great stuff to be discovered on Bandcamp. Granted, browsing is a daunting prospect but it’s not without its rewards. Case in point, Tall North’s eponymous, debut album. It's rootsy, unpretentious and a touch mysterious. Not much is out there on these guys. No media savvy “look at me” website or press kit. Best I can gather is they’re made up of collective initials: A.P.A.K. No first names are given. But what I’m hearing has all the Indie allure of early REM cut with the collaborative approach of The Band.

‘Lost In the Wind’ kicks off with some Pink Moon acoustic guitar before the rest of the band modestly reveals itself. There’s a charming directness and warmth here. Not to mention a refreshing lack of self-consciousness. Along with the hooks are gorgeous bursts of Byrds’ style guitar. An opener that’s beautifully out step with all the hullabaloo. Transporting us to the tall north, indeed. Setting sights for where “it’s all lost in the wind”. A sentiment that unapologetically nods in the direction of classic Dylan and Neil Young.

‘Walls Fall’, sounds like it could have been recorded in the 60’s by Dion or something. The kind of thing you just don’t hear any more in this day in age. Meanwhile, the brooding, Crazy Horse feel of ‘Waves of Snow’ keep up the back to nature theme of this elusive long player. The spare Americana of ‘Don’t Let Your Mind Grow Tired’ brings Bill Fox’s Shelter From Smoke to mind. A song that gets under your skin and leaves you scratching your head. In a good way. ‘I Need You’ continues the album’s lush sparseness with a directness that is just impossible to find these days. The vocals having the pleading feel of a more mellow Rick Danko.

Other highlights include the Psych tinged gorgeousness of ‘Saucer People’. Elsewhere, obscure lyrical fare like ‘Sky On A Wire’ can’t help but haunt. Acoustic instrumentals like, ‘Eagle's Flight’ bring the likes of Jack Rose and John Fahey into the proceedings. ‘Come On Virginia’ is the kind of track you wish the Stones would cut. A laid back but irresistible nod to Sticky Fingers and Exile. ‘Seems Like’ has the kind of fireflies in the backyard yearning you might find on a Galaxie 500 record. Add to that, a healthy dash of Big Star and some blistering, lightning flashes of guitar. The album ends with a track that best sums up it all up, ‘Some Things Never Get Old.’

There is a sense of collective, seamless eclecticism at work here that never calls attention to itself. While there are clearly several singers and songwriters, this is the furthest from too many cooks. There’s an austere, sense of focus and unity that defiantly resists the mere notion of indulgence. All set in the musical amber of folksy, Garage Rock.

Put simply, this is music for cruising the rural backroads. A little whistle-stop you might miss if you’re not looking out for it. Someplace to get lost in, off the beaten path. You won’t find it on any map and as Herman Melville once opined, “true places never are.”

Tall North - long player version by Tall North

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