Northern Chorus

Spirit Flags

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A Northern Chorus, a sextet from Hamilton, Ontario, is among the crop of bands who are trying to keep the spirit and sound of the late-'80s/early-'90s shoegaze movement alive. For the most part, they succeed. Just like groups did in the old days, A Northern Chorus trots out layers of gauzy guitars, enigmatic and hazy vocals, fuzzy rhythms, loud/quiet dynamics, and a resigned, somewhat blissed-out, melancholic feel. But unlike most of the bands interested in shoegaze, A Northern Chorus writes good songs. Like their main inspiration, Slowdive, the songs would be good even without the effects and great clouds of sound. The band also helps their case by augmenting their atmospheric guitars-bass-and-drums shoegaze sound with flute and violin for maximum dreaminess and added texture. They don't rely on pure noise or post-Radiohead weirdness to get their point across. Spirit Flags washes over you like a warm wave in an ocean of guitars and violins and quietly aching vocals. It proudly stands up to classic shoegaze albums as if it were there at the very beginning. Anyone who ever bought a Slowdive record should check it out. The line for the time machine begins here.

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