Monday, October 24, 2011
North Highlands - Wild One (2011)
From the second I was introduced to Brooklyn quintet North Highlands at their co-headlining show with ARMS this summer, the news of their album has been constantly on my brain. How would their dance-y brand of chamber pop translate from the stage to an album? The answer is surprisingly well. Which is not surprising given they’ve been sitting on the album for a bit.
While Brenda Malvini’s vocals aren’t all that commanding, in fact barely registering louder than a delicate coo, that’s their strength. She could be screeching and wailing for your attention but instead she softly and sneakily wins your heart and the band makes sure to always keep her as the focus. No matter how busy the parts are, there’s always a pocket for Malvini’s soft, dreamy vocals.
Wild One is kind of a misnomer. Though it gets its name from its most raucous track “Roundhouse”, the album’s energy is a lot more subtle. Instead the songs are given room to flex and grow in this way that I wish more songwriters utilized. Their debut is downright balmy- recalling the sort of musical sight-seeing artists like Lord Huron invoke despite the fact that the album was written and recorded in bustling cities like New York and Philadelphia. The warm, inviting organic metamorphosis packs the album with these spectacular moments that’s the direct result of having such talented members all share the spotlight and keeps all the songs fresh and exciting. Wild One is no doubt a labor of love, talent, and a wonderful debut from a band that deserves to have more music out that it currently does. Here’s hoping North Highlands are already prepping a follow up because as satisfying as Wild One is, it only makes you crave more.
You can listen to their whole debut at their Bandcamp: