September 2002 unleashed the debut album from four extraordinarily talented, tenderly aged men from Leeds, The Music. Their self-titled debut showcased a sound never quite heard before, it was new, intense and exciting. The Music were everyone’s new favourite band.
Two years later and it’s time for The Music to deliver again. Surely a follow up that amplifies the brilliance of the first would consolidate The Music as one of the best talents in British music, or was the debut just lady luck serving up a slice of what she does best?
The rollercoaster begins with the title track, Welcome To The North – enter a brilliant riff and let the fun begin. The haunting opener is like bumping into an old best friend and being surprised at how much their haircut has changed.
Freedom Fighters is going to a caf� with that friend and being reminded of all the things that made you love them in the first place. What’s more, The Music’s new hairstyle suits them perfectly. Freedom Fighters is inescapably punchy, with a relentless, pounding rhythm and is sure to be a future live favourite.
The debut album mixed fizzing rock songs with down tempo, soulful songs that swelled until they burst, a volcanic explosion of raw energy creating moments that were untouchable and breath taking. One of these songs was track three, Human, and similarly Welcome To The North’s third track (Bleed From Within) is more downbeat in comparison to its predecessors. The album’s welcome attack doesn’t genuinely recede until Fight The Feeling however.
Bleed From Within is packed with haunting emotion and paints a picture of pointless war: “I’d like to know what I’m fighting for before I die” sings Harvey, revealing a pacifistic side to his lyrics, a motif that occurs several times on this album.
Onto Breakin’, where the catchy hook is a wail from Harvey slightly reminiscent of (dare I say it) the ghastly vocal melody of The Rasmus‘ single, In The Shadows. Unlike the Finnish band though, The Music are very talented, making Breakin’ the matter of The Rasmus’ wet dreams.
So after five tracks of adrenaline charged madness, it’s time to calm down. The Music supply the demand with track six, Fight The Feeling, which is slow, achingly soulful, and delicate. Featuring a waltz rhythm, Harvey’s voice is dancing with the music. His partner is beautiful.
However, at this point the album starts to lose momentum slightly, I Need Love marking the album’s weakest point. But when an album’s weaker moments are still good you know it’s something quite special. The album closes with the brilliant Open Your Mind, multi-textured, punchy, and filled with feeling.
It would be unjust to review Welcome To The North without recognising the brilliance of Robert Harvey’s voice, which is technically amazing. With his Robert Plant-esque delivery, Harvey sounds as if he’s singing for his life on every track, and enjoying every second. Still buzzing with charisma, Harvey adds another dimension to The Music.
Indeed, the whole band sound as if they are enjoying themselves, for not only is Welcome To The North a brilliant second album, it’s a comfortable one. Their songwriting creativity and musical aplomb belies their tender age (they are barely into their twenties). A contender for album of the year, every single song has something to love, The Music have proved themselves a formidable force and sound ready to take the world by storm. What an album.