Monday, April 28, 2008

Northern Uproar

"I love your kind words / pointing my way"

We did actually see Northern Uproar play once, in Notts. They were supporting Marion (an even more than usually ephemeral 'next big thing', for those of you with long memories), which at least made them look better.

But anyway, this one is a biggie. Staying with the mini-renaissance, we shift our gaze from Sweden to Denmark for the tour de force that is Northern Portrait's "The Fallen Aristocracy" EP. Lead tune "Crazy" is the one the kids and blogs have been propping, the one where the singer accompanies breezy, lush instrumentation with a debonair vocal that isn't too far away from the swooning croon of One Thousand Violins' Vince Keenan, in the days when the latter were making utterly ignored pop classics like "If I Were A Bullet Then For Sure I'd Find A Way To Your Heart". "Crazy", is, of course, less wordy, a little less clumsy, if yet to stand the same test of time: it's a single sumptious chord sequence that is gently overlaid with embellishments as it progresses, but rarely have raffish charm and polished pop been deployed with a surer hand. And after all that, the title track, another that veritably gleams with 1,000 Violins-isms, is possibly even better - again, the hooks seem to rain down, the writing to brim with natural, not misplaced confidence.

And Math & Physics now have some real competition, because the whole EP (completed by the crisp, twinkling Marr-isms of "Waiting For A Chance" and the defiant post-Morrissey poetics of "A Quiet Night In Copenhagen") is deeply impressive: as well as that long, magnific shadow of the Smiths, there are glimpses of quality only achieved more recently by former Matinee flagship bands like Harper Lee or the still-missed Windmills. The acid test will be, as ever, an album.