People Of The North: Sub Contra – album review

People Of The North – Sub Contra (Thrill Jockey)

LP

10 June 2013

7 / 10

People Of The North celebrate ten years together with the release of a new album. Louder Than War’s been checking it out – and here’s our verdict.

It’s always difficult to review an album when you can’t really stick the artist into any particular genre, and this is a case in point. Oneida member’s Kid Millions on drums and Bobby Matador on everything else make music which is particularly hard to define. It’s also pretty hard on the ears in so much that some of the work doesn’t quite flow as one would expect and it lacks a cohesive quality.

People Of The North should certainly be applauded for originality, but originality alone isn’t always enough. Album opener Drama Class is over nine minutes of improvised percussion & in fact much of the album could sounds like it’s been improvised; drums constantly merge with electronics which seem to act independently of anything. It’s sounds almost psychedelic and at times there’s an element of darkness and enforced horror. At over nine minutes long it’s maybe just that little bit too long & too experimental to be appreciated to any great degree.

Sub Contra parts 1 and 2 are again mind blowing, but not necessarily in a positive way. It’s certainly different, and in parts it’s very entertaining, but the album as a whole tends to stick in one place and struggles to emerge out of it.

The fifth and final track, the opus that is Osange Orange, is again packed with percussion courtesy of Mr Millions and admittedly it’s powerful stuff. The synthesisers fade in and out in an almost ambient way. It’s by far the best track on the album but again, at well over fourteen minutes long, it’s too much.

Not a bad album by far, but equally not great. Maybe as a soundtrack album it would find its strength but as listening pleasure, it isn’t really cutting it for me.

Find out more about People Of The North here.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.

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