Bands sometimes break up (crazy fact right), but sometimes good things come out of it. When the cover band that Clint Kubow and Ben Hays were in disintegrated, they decided to form a duo called Northern Lights that would record and perform only original songs. They have already released a self-titled EP, Northern Lights, and are currently hard at work on an upcoming full-length. The five songs on the EP are hit and miss. A couple of songs sound contrived, too grandiose and suffer from not horrible but not great production. A number of lyrics are too straightforward and they can make you cringe. Despite some major flaws enough talent seeps through at unexpected moments and hope reveals itself on their full-length. One thing that is apparent is that Northern Lights can create songs that combine atmospheric clouds of sounds and traditional songwriting.
The first of the five songs we are greeted with is “Turns Out This Way.” It starts with a steady electronic kick drum and some basic piano playing before the clean, reverb-induced guitars and vocal harmonies kick in. Pretty good so far. The song becomes harder to bear as it progresses. The vocals become sappy as the lead combines with the harmonies. I really enjoyed the music on “Had Me At Hello” but as the song progresses it started to suffer as well from the song trying to be too much. Arguably the best song on the album may be “By Surprise.” Despite the cliché lyrics the music excels. ”Mercy” can also hold its own, as it is a bit more subdued and more restrained in a good way. The album ends with “Let it go” which continues with similar themes but was one of the catchier songs.
Overall, this band has written a number of solid songs but the EP is pretty rough around the edges at this point. Their full-length is coming up and if they work on more inventive lyrics, original melodies and better production these guys should be in good shape.
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