Review by Shannon Shumaker
Northernmost’s self-titled debut album has a melancholy beauty to it that is really just easy to listen to. From the moment that the guitars came in on the first track, “Basic Space,” I knew I was in for a real treat - the guitar tones are soft and easy to get lost in, and by the time the song faded into the second track, “Marble,” I was aching for more.
Northernmost just flows very well from one track to another, and every instrument compliments the others well alongside the vocals, and both the clean vocals and the rougher screams have a very pretty quality that makes them mesh seamlessly. The vocals on Northernmost are actually definitely one of the high points on the album, taking on a quality similar to Brand New and even Balance And Composure or Thrice at times. Coupled with the soft guitars in the background, the vocal style works amazingly, leaving me more and more impressed with every passing track.
“Insurance,” the third track on the album, perfecly encompases Northernmost’s sound. The low guitar parts on this track are gorgeous and compliment the vocals amazingly, and the bass is very strong on this song as well, making it very well-rounded. When the other vocals come in with the rest of the band about a minute into the song, the harmonies are amazing, and by the time “Insurance” fades out, I’m completely sold on Northernmost.
The only downside on this album is that, while a lot of songs seem to build and build, there’s really no peak to them. A lot of them stay on the same, mellow level, and while that definitely works for Northernmost, I sometimes found myself wishing for more. That being said, though, there are definitely many strong tracks on Northernmost that do make up for the album’s one flaw (see “Fighting In My Sleep,” which has amazing harmonies, the gorgeous “Pleasant Secrets” or the amazing instrumental acoustic track “Thawing Out”). If there is a high point on the album, it definitely comes on the eighth track, “Belittle Me,” which more fast paced than the other songs while still keeping Northernmost’s signature and gorgeous melancholy sound.
Overall, Northernmost is an album that really shouldn’t be missed. For fans of acts such Brand New and Balance And Composure, Northernmost’s debut full-length is a must-listen, especially as summer fades to fall. The slow, somber tone on Northernmost is perfect for rainy fall days and the amazing lyrics and vocals on this album will have you aching for more for months to come.
Listen to "Belittle Me"