Wander by Northern American (Single)

8 January, 2014 in Music Reviews

Northern America

In advance of their summer-scheduled debut album, Northern American offer a single full of Californian melody and New York charm

Northern America Wanderos Angeles natives Northern American claim that their music is inspired by their Californian surroundings and the area’s warm climes. Though the warmth is there in spades, with the melodies as temperate as the sands of Laguna Beach, their single Wander seems to have its musical influences rooted equally in a different geographical location: New York.

Beginning with guitar work that recalls the melodious approach of fellow Californians Local Natives and a vocal that come across as a less barbed version of LA-born Rivers Cuomo’s, it’s not long before NYC rears its head. As the song reaches its centre point the band draws in elements of the Afrobeat with which Vampire Weekend made their name, and the bass leans into a more Interpol-like hum. The whole effect is something like a Californian take on Grizzly Bear’s pysch-pop. The radio edit is also included and, though the edit in no way ruins the song, it feels a little flat in comparison.

B-side Record Forever follows through with the same vibe as the A-side, though introduces touches of the space rock atmospherics that Grandaddy used to such great effect on their magnum opus The Sophtware Slump. It’s as graceful and pleasant as the warm air of a summer’s eve, but passes by without leaving the same indentation as its predecessor.

Though Northern American write songs that are finely crafted and have a real melodic charm, they presently lack the panache of their illustrious New York and California forbearers. There is, however, plenty of time for them to hit their stride and secure their vitality, for many great bands require the benefit of time to work their way into excellence – as anyone who’s heard the very first Interpol demos would attest .

Verdict: Charming, melodic pysch-folk

Damien Girling


You can hear the single for yourself below…

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