Plumbiferous Media

Remind Me Where the Light Is - Great Northern

May 3rd 2009
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Remind Me Where the Light Is - Great NorthernGreat Northern
Remind Me Where the Light Is
Score: 28

Remind Me Where the Light Is is the sec­ond full-length album from LA indie group Great North­ern, fol­low­ing their mod­er­ate­ly well-received 2007 debut album, Trad­ing Twi­light for Day­light. Though Remind Me Where the Light Is demon­strates many of the same musi­cal traits as Trad­ing Twi­light for Day­light, Great North­ern has failed to exe­cute them in as suc­cess­ful a man­ner on their newest album.

Remind Me Where the Light Is cer­tain­ly suf­fers from sub­stan­tial flaws, but in some cas­es the same issues which impair the album as a whole cre­ate the most tol­er­a­ble parts of the album. The rep­e­ti­tion which becomes overused lat­er in the album is used to some­what sat­is­fac­to­ry effect on sev­er­al ear­ly tracks, most notably on the first, “Sto­ry,” in which the sta­t­ic musi­cal pat­terns and lyri­cal lines are used to cre­ate a pass­able base­line for the track, though it is mere­ly sol­id rather than gen­uine­ly interesting.

Even if the lyrics of Remind Me Where the Light Is had been incred­i­bly pro­found, the effect would have been lost through the con­stant rep­e­ti­tion. Per­haps it’s good then that the lyrics are nei­ther worse nor bet­ter than mediocre - any­thing bet­ter would have been wast­ed and any­thing worse painful. As it is, Great North­ern’s for­get­table lines about “the weight of the world” and fin­gers don’t have any espe­cial­ly last­ing effect on the album as a whole. Per­haps that’s the best that could be said about them, giv­en how many oth­er aspects of Remind Me Where the Light Is detract from the album.

Rep­e­ti­tion (in note sequences, larg­er phras­es, instru­ments, vocal phras­es, lyrics, and in near­ly every oth­er name­able ele­ment as well) is absolute­ly the name of the game for Great North­ern on Remind Me Where the Light Is. And quite sim­ply, while some of the tracks use rep­e­ti­tion to mid­dling suc­cess, most of the album sim­ply falls apart. The rea­son that tracks like “Hous­es” actu­al­ly sound decent is because while the instru­ments are doing lit­tle to sup­port the track (though more than on most oth­er tracks) the quite strong vocals and upbeat rhythm of the track man­age to make it last at least most of the way through its fourth minute.

What this means, of course, is that once the strong vocals are removed around “Stop” (the fifth track), the album quick­ly becomes fair­ly dif­fi­cult to lis­ten to, and not only because the rep­e­ti­tion becomes over­whelm­ing; the album addi­tion­al­ly los­es a sep­a­rate musi­cal qual­i­ty that might not have been rec­og­nized if it had­n’t gone miss­ing. The ear­li­er tracks actu­al­ly had quite inter­est­ing har­monies, and made good use of stray­ing in and out of uni­son, although the effects were repeat­ed so many times that they quick­ly grew some­what dull, where­as the lat­er tracks are, if any­thing, char­ac­ter­ized by being just a bit shrill on occasion.

Not only is each track on Remind Me Where the Light Is high­ly repet­i­tive, but the album as a whole is ter­ri­bly repet­i­tive. A major­i­ty of the tracks on the album are in near­ly the same tem­po, and the ones that aren’t sound like the rest of the album for sep­a­rate rea­sons. In fact, the only track that real­ly sticks out is “33,” and it unfor­tu­nate­ly sticks out like a sore thumb, as it nei­ther sounds decent on its own, nor has any strained con­nec­tion what­so­ev­er to the rest of the album. While there are some redeem­ing qual­i­ties in Remind Me Where the Light Is, and a few fair­ly decent tracks, the album as a whole remains fair­ly boring.

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