For North Elementary, the beauty’s in the breakdown. One listen to the band’s latest release, Southern Rescue Trails, reveals this philosophy. It’s a reconciliation of frontman John Harrison’s Southern upbringing and his northern musical influences. On the eve of his upcoming marriage, the Chapel Hill musician blends the banjos and fiddles of his home state’s culture on tracks like “Southern Elevators” with swirling, dexterous compositions that evoke the rock of his youth on “It Comes to Everyone.” It’s a balance of distortion and melody, encompassing myriad influences — southern rock, noise and falling in love — and equally numerous textures. In the wake of an onslaught of positive press, Harrison and company have fashioned an exploratory, intricate follow-up to 2009’s acclaimed Not for Everyone Just for You on Durham’s 307 Knox Records.
"Cycling through sharp-edged rasp of a driven guitars and animalistic squelches of synth pulls and tugs listeners deeper into the album. Lyrically discrete and instrumentally emboldened, new meanings, feelings, and understandings of this album are found with each listen." - Secret Carrboro Ninja Patrol
"The joy of songwriting lies in the experimentation and manipulation that comes after composition. A pop song ends once the lyrics and melody are in place, but for this Chapel Hill group, that’s where the songwriting process begins." - Performer Magazine
North Elementary sounds like a big and ballsy hard rock band trying to sound like pop geniuses, or maybe pop geniuses trying to sound like a big and ballsy hard rock band; either way, the result is magical.