Gary Adrian (bass/pedals/vocals/keyboards), Brian Mueller (guitar/keyboards/mellotron/vocals/ /loops) and Stephen P. Rogers (sonic analyst/voice of reason/vocals) are North of Tomorrow. The band from Phoenix, Arizona recently released their second release entitled Something Unexpected. It features musicians from Italy, England, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Nashville, Philadelphia, LA and Montreal according to the band and they mention it “will be loved by the fans of Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Gorillaz, Foals, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and others.”
The album opens with “New October” and right off the bat the song has a rich assortment of instrumentation from reversed sounding synths, xylophone and more. I actually was reminded of Peter Gabriel. The song is lush and atmospheric but still feels kinetic. I loved some of the grooves on this tune as well as the vocal melodies. It felt like a very strong start and I was excited to hear more of what lay ahead.
“It Could Have Been Me” has an off kilter funky beat that starts the song. It sounded a little like Primus but with a darker sensibility. There’s a good amount of dissonance at some point, some of it explodes into ’80s lead guitar. The song felt all over the place but in an interesting way that still managed to feel cohesive. There were some very experimental transitions and it was all on board.
I was getting more of that Peter Gabriel flavor on “My Sweet Spot” in a number of ways - the instrumentation but also the hook in this case. I think this song felt like a single because of how pronounced the hook was.
The band continues with songs that burst with instrumentation such as the lush “SuperExtraordinary” and “Shakey Bones” which contains some exceptional lead guitar with a jazzy canvas. “We Were A Heart Away” contains a number of vocalists, orchestral sections, rock sections and just an incredible range of exploration.
One of the most danceable songs was “Lean On In” which also felt playful and fun. As the album progresses the band continues to fire on all cylinders. I can’t say there were any lulls but there were some highlights. “At First Blush,” “Pray For Rain” and “Something Out of Nothing” were standouts to my ears.
This is the type of album where words can’t capture the scope of the songs. The band explores crevasses that demand a lot of work and an attention to detail. This was an incredible album. Highly recommended.
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