Northern Uproar - Hey Samurai! - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Northern Uproar - Hey Samurai!

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:8 Release Date:2015-10-09

Hey Samurai! is the latest album from Northern Uproar, a trio from Manchester who have been around for 20 years in various combinations and through a few fits and spurts of disbanding and reuniting. After losing their guitarist last year in a tragic accident, the group decided to forge on. This record is a polished effort of eclectic styles, befitting a band that has been at it for two decades and is quite comfortable making music that bows to no one except their own muses.

The album starts with '24 Hrs/24 Days', a lovely, up-tempo number with a contagious, soulful vibe that causes involuntary toe-tapping and hip-swinging. There are hints in the song that you might not want to plan out a gym workout to the rest of the album as things quickly shift to the overarching tone by the time the second song commences. With that song (“Chasing Demons”) the lights dim, the room gets smokier, and the high balls fill up. The same goes for the bulk of the record. The exceptions are “Outlaws Robbing Trains” a cool song propelled by a funky bass line and featuring lyrical delivery that reminds me of Big Audio Dynamite, and the “secret track,” an oddball tune called “Rodriguez the Bull.” It’s a bossa nova that is so silly and light-hearted that it would make a perfect song for an elementary school setting.

“Hey Samurai!” is a full serving of chill music that transported me into the back seat of the family Ford LTD ca. 1970; sun warming the car, the lull of the long summer vacation drive, and the endless pastures streaming by while my mind slipped into a happy numbness on the waves of those luscious, lazy soundtracks from my dad’s collection of groovy 8-tracks.  For the younger crowd, the best equivalent I can think of is that “Hey Samurai!” could well be the music playing at your local coffee shop. I’m not being snarky or damning with faint praise, believe me. I’ve not only heard some good music at my local Starbucks, but it also underscores the fact that Northern Uproar plays music that deserves to have a bigger audience than they currently enjoy, and that alone makes them worth a listen.




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