Roddy Frame

North Star

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Roddy Frame emerges from his Aztec Camera moniker with a charming blend of jangling guitars and soulful crooning. "River or Brightness" is a particularly beautiful standout track, where Frame's mandolin creates poetical dense waves of charm. There's not really much sonic difference from an Aztec Camera release, as every album was basically a Roddy Frame solo affair, in that he's written almost every Aztec Camera song on his own. The North Star is a pleasure throughout the ten tracks, as he never fails to register sweet emotion or frolicking joy. "Bigger Brighter Better" suggests that Frame is both overjoyed with and at full-mastery of his endearing acoustic pop style. "Sister Shadow" sounds as if it has been produced by Phil Spector at the peak of his skills. For every song of happiness, there's a complementary track of subtle soul searching. The singer/songwriter has never sounded this confident over the full length of an album in the past. If The North Star isn't this artist at his best, then he must have purely transcendental songs up his sleeve for future releases. With this confident solo debut, as strong or stronger than any Aztec Camera release, Roddy Frame confirms his status as a first-rate emotional balladeer.

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