Sound — 9
The album sounds like Art rock that sub-genre of intangible characteristics you can't explain but you know them when you hear them. Its definition of being melodic is skewed so atmospheres are styled with intense guitar shreds, wild bass effects and sharp drum strikes combined into phrases that resonate like orderly chaos. The North Atlantic's second release Wires In The Walls (We Put Out Records/East West Rock), produced by Jason Clark, has a lot of what comes with an art rock album. Originally recorded in 2003, the album was re-released in 2006 and follows the band's debut album Buried Under Tundra. Songs like Lotus Eater and Drunk Under Electrics howl with hardcore-arched hooks, power punk mosaics, rambunctious vocals, and blues/rock grooves. The feral exchange of exploding guitar electrodes and detonating bass vibrations are supported with an ample amount of whipping drum beats. Lead singer and guitarist Jason Hendrix is crewed by his younger brother Cullen Hendrix and bassist Jason Richards. There is a lot of energy being released in their chord progressions between the sections of friction and melodic reverb, and yet the band has a firm handle on the volts being emitted.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are totally personal and like the band's music, the verses are poetically skewed like in the track "Bottom Of This Town" which cites: "Turn off the lights and watch it all melt down/Napoleon slow to the bottom of this town/taste your mouth and touch your knees/ blinking lights in electric trees." On the surface, the lyrics seem non-sensical but you know they have a deeper meaning that somehow unlocks the key to human nature and survival.
Overall Impression — 9
The entanglement of instrument lines and sonic contortions are fomenting but not in an ambient way, more like an action adventure. The tracks are vocally brazen and squeeze chords intensely like on The Man Who Saved Your Ass and The Ministry Of Helicopters. The guitar and bass pistons quaver violently on Swallow Fire. There are moments of melodic softness like on the synth imprints crisscrossing the bluesy toned bass spreads and drum thrusts for Bottom Of This Town and through intervals of Street Sweepers. The spurts of energy thrash and hollow out so sections blow up and then disperse into shards of flaccid notes. Jason Hendrix thanked guitarist Steve Vai for pioneering the method he uses for playing when he took a moment at The North Atlantic's show at the Mercury Lounge in New York City to say so. Hendrix, like his band mates say very little between songs. They really let their songs speak for them.