Big thanks to Seattle's own Northern Thorns for bringing the boogie with international flare and a lot of depth. Their self-titled album Northern Thorns is a dance album head to toe, but I would not categorize it as your typical dance album. Not all of the themes are light and fluffy. There are dark personal narratives at play and yet, I found myself moving my body all the same. It was actually very comforting to be able to dance to these dark lyrical themes. Everyone deals with negativity and tragedy in different ways. I found an immediate kinship with group founder and drummer Adam Kozie for his choice to present his woes with such a ripe and vibrant sound.
Northern Thorns has crafted such an interesting mix of African musical influences and indie rock. The music is many levels above “catchy." It's enchanting. Kozie's percussive instincts are spot on. I could not help myself, some part of my body had to be moving while listening. Kozie wrote the music and the lyrics and he had a lot to say with nine fabulous, head bobbing tracks. Lots of intricate rhythmic layers are strung together with sensational harmonies. The music bobs and weaves like a sentient being. It's its own creature. I know there is a lot of wonderful electronic magic at work here, but the album at its core sounds very organic to me.
Given the length of the tracks, one could file this under trance pop or possibly even jam band, that's kind of a tough call. The music is so distinctive I'm not inclined to label it as either. For one, I don't feel like I'm getting that signature trance effect. As far as jam bands are concerned, that's a genre for loose and indefinite composition. The compositions of this album are tight and intentional. There is a place for everything and everything has its place. On a composing level alone this album is so ambitious and has me in awe. This includes the vocal performances. The synergy is a live and well and really pays off for this album.
Production is another key element to what made this album successful for me. It would be such a waste to not be able to hear all the aspects of this careful assemblage. Luckily Kozie and his crew were in good hands. This album passed through a few different hands between recording and mixing and mastering. However I get the sense Kozie was never too far away. He was hands on for the recording process. The treatment of the music was well worth every penny, hour or whatever was spent on it. The quality is undeniable and I always like to encourage artists who take production seriously.
The more I listened to this album the more I understood what a catharsis and labor of love this album is and that really moves me. I would file this album under "highly recommended" for just about anyone looking to hear a new perspective.
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