Pros:Fun rock to get your body moving
Cons:Vocals not up front enough
The Bottom Line: More of that good ol', new-school, old-school rock.
Riding the wave of danceable, retro-style rock that's dominated much of 2004, The Music offer up a different and enjoyable album with their latest release Welcome to the North. They made some noise with their self-titled debut a few years back, but now the timing is much better for them to take off.
Recommend this product?
The Music takes a touch of Led Zeppelin, some Jane's Addiction (mainly in the vocals), and a lot of funky, upbeat rock to deliver an overall fun album. Their name may be pretentious as hell, but the Music's music more than makes up for it. It's hard to put a finger on their overall sound. It sounds like something from the '70s or '80s. However, it also fits nicely with the current scene of indy rock gone mainstream without outrightly resembling any one modern band. There's even a hint of tribal music in their sound. Just check out the end of Bleed From Within, and you'll see what I mean.
Plenty of this album's material will get your body moving while you rock out to the guitars. Freedom Fighters is a prime example. This dance anthem picks up the pace with its groovy beat remaining heavy all the while. Bouncy lead single Breakin' is very danceable as well, especially with its "uh oh uh oh uh oh yeah" chorus. This is melodic, artsy, pop rock done right.
Some songs, however, put aside dance grooves in favor of straight-up rocking (in the Music's own special way of course). Cessation is a fast-paced tune that adds a touch of punk to the album. Guide isn't quite as fast, but itâs certainly upbeat with a very strongly delivered chorus. The plodding beat and sneering guitar riff of One Way In, No Way Out makes it a very cool track. Heartbreak tale I Need Love could have been soft and somber, but instead this soaring disco/rock fusion is one of the album's most energetic.
The Music show their softer side with Fight the Feeling, a slow love song with some pretty lyrics: "Love is here/ No end/ They'll hold us here forever/ Just you wait and see/ The sky is just a diamond/ Reflecting the sea." Into the Night gives us a nice mix of soft and upbeat as the swaying verses give way to a fairly powerful chorus.
My only problem with the album is that the vocals are not prominent enough. It's not that Robert Harvey's voice is bad. I enjoy it - though I should add that you also have to enjoy Robert Plant's and Perry Ferrell's voices to take Harvey's. The problem is that he lets himself move toward the background rather than keep his vocals upfront. More prominent vocals could make anthems out of some of these songs. Instead, they seem more like ambience until after a few listens.
The Music is a tough band to categorize, but that's probably how they like it. Don't let the pretentiousness keep you away. Welcome to the North really is an enjoyable album. Though not enough stands out as strongly as I think it could, there is plenty of memorable material here. So even if you're turned off by their name, remember: it's the music that matters.