Are you feeling a little dirty from listening to too much garage, punk, and lo-fi? Well come on in, wash your greasy hands, take off your overalls and come into the parlour where the fire crackles and the hi-fi hums. Don’t be put off by the smooth sounds coming out of the speakers or the tea and crumpets. Try to refrain from demanding a PBR and have a spot of tea and a listen to Northern Portrait‘s new album Criminal Art Lovers. The songs are all Rickenbacker fueled jangling beauties, and Stefan Larsen with his smooth tenor croon sounds like he is half Morrissey and half Frank Reader (Trashcan Sinatras).
Dear reader you must know that one can’t live on adrenaline charged shouted choruses alone. Even if you think that you don’t need it, one listen to Northern Portrait’s debut will slip you into billowy haze of feathers and cause you to daydream of picnics in fields of daisies, or bicycling on the beach at sundown (or maybe it’s the tea). Your life may not be such that those kinds of things are common day occurrences, but surely a kid can dream can’t he? How do you get to that daisy field, or sitting room with the crackling fire, or the breezy beach at sundown you may ask? It’s quite simple actually, more tea and Northern Portrait’s new album can take you there.
mp3: Northern Portrait – Criminal Art Lovers (from Matinee album Criminal Art Lovers)
mp3: Northern Portrait – New Favourite Moment (from Matinee album Criminal Art Lovers)
I don’t know. I’m a bit of a grumpy “the smiths did it so much better” type when it comes to bands like this. Perhaps surprisingly, my mentality is quite different towards shouty garage rock bands, which are – according to many – just as formulaic.
You kind of touch on the one gripe I have with indiepop these days and that is I get the feeling that a lot of the bands have only heard the Smiths, Orange Juice and a few others, making them sound a bit one dimensional. Granted, The Smiths were a once in a lifetime kind of band, but they drew from a much wider palette, stuff like the Stooges, Noel Coward, T-Rex, Motown, NY Dolls, 60’s girl groups and dialog from old movies. Add in the drama of Morrissey and Marr’s guitar chops informed by obsessive and intricate pop music knowledge and it’s nearly impossible to do it better.