Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Drive North - Land And Sea

I'm a man of nature. That doesn't mean I live in a tent in the woods or lack the willpower to shower, but rather, I enjoy the outdoors more than I enjoy a cityscape. I feel like I take that same ideaology into how I perceive music too, enjoying music that feels raw and under-produced as opposed to being over-produced. It doesn't mean I necessarily like it more, I just appreciate the approach more. Drive Norths album, Land And Sea, emboldens my claim.

Land And Sea feels a little off, but it was so endearing to me that I nearly shook it off completely. With a vocal styling that is a near clone to James Taylors', this acoustic (And sometimes minimally electronic) group kept me interested almost through the entire album, which is rare considering I'm such a snob with  acoustic acts in general. "Hello Limbo", the second song on the album, totally made my day. Yes, I spent all day cleaning my apartment in near 100 degree weather, so there wasn't much room for it getting any worse, but it put a smile on my face, which, being in 100 degree weather by itself, is a testament to the songs strength. It felt more like Broken Bells than James Taylor, but that only added to its appeal.

"High Season" and "Naked", the last two songs on the album, go back to its primary acoustic roots, delivering songs that feel perfect for a nice, leisurely drive along a country road. "Shipwrecked", a nice, calming track with a backdrop of a rainstorm, may just be the only acoustic song I know that works well with an ambient sample in it. Not that I've ever even heard an acoustic song with a rainstorm in the background, but it was a nice little touch none-the-less.

However, as I say that, another song that uses a sample in it, "Southern Lights", did not make me calm at all. Maybe it's the history I have with birds (A ex-roommates bird once flew at my head. It also never shut up.), but the sound of birds chirping throughout an entire song does not really mix well in my mind. The sample of the birds also seems way too loud, which detracts from the song itself, which isn't bad. If they had only done one song with a nature-themed sample in the background, maybe the track would have stuck out more to me. As it turns out, I found it to be amazingly grating.

That being said, Land And Sea is a nice, simple listen. It doesn't try to blow you away with any fancy bells and whistles, instead relying on some catchy acoustic guitar riffs, and a nice, soothing voice to go along with it. If only other musicians could understand that same approach. - Shane

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