Yorkshire Coast Gigs - A Community Interest Company

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Album art - We Are North of the Wall

Having recently been lucky enough to witness North of the Wall playing live, the chance to review recent release ‘We Are North of the Wall’ was very welcome.

I don’t think I could pick one single ‘stand out’ track over all the others in this fine collection of material, but ‘Uh-Oh!’ is delightful; fun, funky and a fine example of Sam Harrison’s exquisite gravelly vocals, Jonny Billington’s funkalicious bass, and Joss Rylance’s groovy drumming. Equally, ‘Is It True’ demonstrates the benefits of good backing vocals in a rhythmic but more doleful track, showcasing an alternative, rockier edge to their style.

Titles like ‘YOLO baby’ and ‘Chewbacca’s Falsetto’ could lead you to suspect they are not taking this whole thing too seriously, but such suspicions would be more wrong than wearing Crocs and socks; there’s a self-assured sense of fun and mischief that filters through the music, but it exists only because the writing / recording / playing quality of the tracks is front and centre, allowing that playfulness around the edges.

A special mention goes to ‘The Pinnacle’, where there’s splendid use of Yorkshire twang, and a touch of the Arctic Monkeys about the piece. That comparison remains through several of the latter songs, which also take the opportunity to render more heartfelt, bittersweet sentiment, and can allow you to draw comparisons to the vocal style of Joe Cocker. The finale piece, ‘Wonderland’, evokes a dash of Prince in the sound and Lewis Carroll in the imagery, fusing into an achingly beautiful, subtly understated song of yearning.

With brilliant writing, a well-blended mixture of funk and new wave rock with some more modern influences, and intensely tight playing, these 12 tracks are worthy of repeat play; I pick a different favourite each time - a sign that there’s a little something for many moods and moments, and plenty to take your time over and get acquainted with.

Find the album on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play.

Follow North of the Wall on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud.

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