Bridge to the Northern Lights

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Hüsker Dü meets the Smiths on Aveo's awe-inspiring Bridge to the Northern Lights. Recorded in only seven days, the Seattle threesome's debut is a brilliant entry into the ranks of indie rock. Like Idlewild, Aveo plays their influences well while crafting a sound entirely their own. William Wilson's guitar playing owes much to Johnny Marr's characteristic jangle, but Wilson adds a harsher punk element that skews this album in the direction of Bob Mould, the master of pop played with punk rock sensibilities (as opposed to the pop-punk genre). With vocals that fall somewhere between Martin Rossiter of Gene and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, the opening track, "Laughter Leaves You," begins the album with a glorious sense of bittersweet triumph. On the title track, Wilson floats dreamily over the jangle pop melody. "Neverhome" is reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian's rollicking "If You're Feeling Sinister" but more rock & roll. The lyrics "never been safe at home/you know they don't miss you," echo the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out." "Tomorrow Today" is the most dynamic song on the album and the most catchy. The simple repetitive riffs stick with you while Mike Hudson's bass offers a driving, melancholy low end and Jeff Macisaac's solid beats lend an air of importance. But the grandiosity comes finally from the mid-tempo, last track march of "Collapsing Plateaus: Notes for a Future Archeologist," and suggests a powerful and unique trajectory for this band.

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