North to Glory: The Golden Age of Drifters (Independent, 2004)
North to Glory is a band that hails from Michigan. Since they don’t have a website, that’s pretty much all I can tell you about them. Their EP, The Golden Age of Drifters, is an eclectic mix of electronics, indie-pop, psychedelia and slo-core elements. The band consists of D. Hallgren, J. Hammond, P. Devins and J. Lambert. That being said, let’s get to the music.
The Golden Age of Drifters starts out with a soft melody, bright guitars and simple percussion. The first track, “Sink Like Sleep,” has the feeling of a 70’s pop ballad with floating organs, shimmering guitars, and subtle bass work. There are also samples of things like water in the background that give the song a great and full feel. “Fall from the Saddle” starts off with a buzz and has soft organ. This track reminds me a lot of The Billions. They use tambourine, great acoustic guitar accents and the vocals are very, very soothing. What I really like about North to Glory is that they are able to bring to their pop a kind of melancholy feel. “Trace the Lines” is really along the same lines as their previous tracks. It has that Billions feel again. The drums are a little jazzier and the vocals are really dreamy. I really like their guitar tones on this track. They are bright and add nice accents to the vox, but don’t take away from them in any way.
“Pistol Kings” is probably my favorite track on the disc. It starts out with an ominous sound and blends into low tones and spacey keys. They add cool samples to the song and the percussion is sparse and perfectly patient. There is a mix of Depeche Mode style dark pop and experimental electronic music with a touch of Low. The EP finishes with “Wanderfolk.” This track begins with more keys and some percussive, electric elements. It sort of has the feeling of a circus organ. This fades out to soft vocals and simple key progressions and light percussion. This is a slow song that is almost akin to slo-core, but it is not as stripped down as that.
This is a solid EP and a great first showing. I look forward to hearing more in the future. I guess my only recommendation to the band would be to stick to experimentation like that found in “Pistol Kings” and don’t be afraid to move outside the simple structures of pop. North to Glory are definitely worth a listen.