Its a cold, overcast day as October has decided to wind down to an end here in Boulder. I pull on my sweatshirt, snap the weekly album for review into my player and shoulder on out into the frigid air. As I walk on down the street, I am pleasantly greeted with a slow, gentle fade into the first track of North Elementarys Lose Your Favorite Things. Its perfect how well this particular album a great soundtrack for a walk on a still, cloudy day matches my current mood. This is a nice, solid effort from one of Chapel Hills very own rising young bands. North Elementary is a six-person manned collaborative effort built around the songwriting and sound experimentation of John Harrison.
The music itself is very brooding and slow, kind of reminiscent of a less-orchestrated Mercury Rev. Within these subtle soundscapes, great, building melodies and hooks keep the listener in tow with nicely constructed backing music for the sighed-out vocals. To slap a label on this album, Id probably have to go with dream-core, as the pace has a bit of a draw to it and is a tad on the sleep-inducing side (not in a bad way, rather soothing). Perhaps theres something in the gorgeous, yet minimal guitar and keyboard lines that creates this sense of ease. The vocals at times even don a Flaming Lips quality with layers of echo or chorus. It is very captivating and interesting; theres depth to ever song, and it seems as if there is always something happening, always an instrument droning or a sound fluttering just beneath the surface. As a whole the album is quite pretty and strikingly despondent.
Overall, this album is a great foot forward for this budding local talent, a great calling card to wave in Merges face. There are definitely some college radio-friendly tracks hiding here. North Elementary pulls from a lot of current influences, yet retains a nice personal, unique touch.