North Elementary

Lose Your Favorite Things

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North Elementary expanded from a quartet to a sextet for their second album, Lose Your Favorite Things. The sound, however, remained pretty similar to their debut Out of Phase -- indie rock that was wide-ranging in its songwriting moods and instrumental timbres, without producing anything astounding or enormously distinctive. Sometimes the guitars have a buzzing siren-like quality akin to old Brian Eno-overseen art rock records; other tracks are winsome, if not terribly memorable, folky romantic singer/songwriter tunes, occasionally with male-female vocal harmonies; and "Beautiful in a Way" is a spooky ballad with watery piano serving as the only accompaniment. It's satisfying inasmuch as you never know what's around the corner instrumentally speaking, be it the childlike space signals that glide into a grand classical-like passage to open the CD on "Nothing in a Way," the in-and-out sound waves of "Split," or the (relatively speaking) boring pop-punk guitar attack of "Lazy, Daisy." It's unsatisfying inasmuch as the songs themselves are hazy in focus and pass by without making much of an impact.

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