Named in tribute to George Harrison's "Only a Northern Song," Chris Weisman and Greg Davis' Northern Songs project is a wonderful piece of homespun psychedelic folk in all of the best possible meanings of those words. There are no drums, and Weisman's intimate, sometimes creaky falsetto drips with lo-fi effects, flanged, delayed, and echoed, melting seamlessly into Davis' drone-outs. The collaboration of the Vermont-based musicians is filled with surprises and constantly changing atmospheres, like the fluttering birds and rolling gongs behind "We Won't Survive," which gives Weisman's sweet mediations an unexpected richness. Davis' music, which has encompassed microtonal textures, field recordings, acoustic guitar, and pure synthesizer work in search of a cosmic peace, is a perfect companion for Weisman's charming Beatle folk. Their cover of Harrison's "It's All Too Much" serves the triumphant melody with quiet certainty. (Weisman's love of the Fabs truly comes through on "B.O.A.C.," on his Tape Walk, released by Davis' Autumn Records that year, where he recounts a secret mountaintop concert by the "psychedelic Beatles, with George at front and center.") It acts as a grounding point, allowing them space for envelope filter guitar jams ("Christalline," with nods to late-'70s Jerry Garcia), abstract Chris Knox-like swirls ("The Nine Times"), and musique concrète blasts ("Hat of Night"). A true pleasure.
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AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow