The Music – Welcome To The North

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The Music – Welcome To The North
Virgin
September 20, 2004

What It Sounds Like:  Big, stadium ready jams with hints of glam and soaring vocals from the spawn of the sounds of Muse, U2, and any other arena bands that want their sonics to bounce all the way back to the cheap seats.

When you come on stage and the announcer introduces your band, you have some pretty stinkin’ big shoes to fill when he says – “Ladies and Gentleman, I give you….The Music!”

The Music.  Not just any music – it’s the singular definition of what encompases everything from funk to opera to death metal to classical.  That’s a lot of hype. Too much hype.  But to answer the question – does The Music live up to it?

Of course not.  This record is far from a ten out of ten.  It’s not even a nine, or even an eight.  But let’s give it a steady six.  It’s got potential, even though their first record (their self titled from 2006) is better than this, so it could be considered a small step down.  Still, it’s worth you time.

Let’s start with the second single, Breakin’.  It’s a mammoth.  Most records have a standout track that blows the others out of the water, even if the rest of the record has some tracks that may be lacking.  Hands down, here it is.  Big steady drums.  A vocal echo in the background.  A sexy, bass heavy riff.  A chorus that is rousing enough to make your energy level bust at the seams.  It’s impossible to sit still and listen to – the way lead singer Robert Harvey hits that delivery of breaaaaaak in the chorus gets me every time.  If you need a song to put on your “Get Energized!” playlist on your iPod, you’ve struck gold here.  Raise your fists to the sky.

But one song out of eleven doesn’t make for a perfect record.  Sadly, a lot of the rest of this record falls into the “good, but certainly not great” category.  It’s actually very interesting to try to put your finger on any of the missteps (if you could even call them that) here.  The chorus of I Need Love, the whole journey of shifting dynamics on Bleed From Within…even the awesome power riff that opens the first single Freedom Fighters – they’re all just trying so hard to sound huge.  Guitars with numerous effects laid over top, percussion that thumps and pounds in your chest – this stuff is right down my alley.  I love huge sounds and sonic blasts.  But there are simply few choruses that really stick in your head, even though at the time that you’re listening to them, you’re enjoying them!  That sounds unprofessional and not very thought out, I agree – but I simply can’t explain it any better than that.

I have never enjoyed a record while listening to it, but have been unable to give it a better review in my life.  I listen to Cessation and think “Man, that was fun!  I bet it would sound great live!”  But what did I like about it?  It wasn’t overly catchy.  It was just energetic and huge-sounding.  How about Guide?  Man, it falls nice on my ear.  The vocals sound great.  There’s some kind of unique guitar work, and if the song came on the radio, I’d think to myself, “Heck yeah – Guide – I like this!”  But overall, is is memorable in the long run?  Not Really.

I’ll be the first to say that this is more of a rambling review than a well thought-out write-up, but sometimes you just get at a loss.  I can’t give it better than a six, but without a doubt, I would be at their show if they were ever to reform and play Nashville.

6/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  Breakin’ / Into The Night

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