The Primary 5

North Pole

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Former Teenage Fanclub and Soup Dragons drummer Paul Quinn delivers a stunning solo debut with North Pole. Although credited to the Primary Five, North Pole is, for all intents and purposes, a solo effort with Quinn taking on most of the vocal, guitar, keyboard, and drum duties. Collaborating with fellow Scot multi-instrumentalist Ryan Currie, Quinn has crafted a classicist folk-pop album with a slight country-rock vibe in the spirit of such seminal West Coast artists as the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. In fact, fans of his most recent employer will be pleasantly surprised that Quinn seems equally as enamored with sunny melodies, jangly 12-string guitar lines, and gushing harmonies. Vocally, Quinn has a pleasingly soft and laid-back style, bringing to mind both Gene Clark and -- more uncannily -- Stone Canyon Band-era Rick Nelson. Tracks such as the sparkling "What Am I Supposed to Do," "Happy," and "I'll Lay You Down" are absolutely perfect pop songs that reveal the longtime percussionist's knack for mixing crisp rhythms, catchy melodies, and heartfelt lyrics. This stuff is so beautiful in its simplicity that it's a wonder Quinn didn't step out from the kit earlier. For anybody, North Pole would be a great album, but for a guy who up until this album spent his career backing others, it's an utter triumph.

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