Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"N" is for...

North Atlantic Oscillation 


According to Wikipedia, the North Atlantic oscillation is a phenomenon involving fluctuations of atmospheric pressure at sea level. 

What this has to do with the band North Atlantic Oscillation, I have no frigging idea!

It's prudent to listen to the Edinburgh, Scotland-based group's newest effort, Fog Electric, in the safe confines of a basement or bedroom to avoid any meteorological distress. 

With headphones on, it is easy to imagine yourself floating in uncharted icy waters surrounded by thick fog and soothing mist. Headphones help the listener to fully grasp an album that does not lack in ambition and atmosphere, and almost reaches the heights it certainly aims for.

North Atlantic Oscillation merge airy synthesizers and sampled drums with Sam Healy's swirling, ethereal falsetto, in an arrangement that represents shades of psychedelia and post-rock. 

The result is a sound that captures the listener's attention, with simple, yet steady drum patterns, effective synths blended with post-rock inspired guitar that set the general tone for the album. 

Throughout the disc, NAO do not stray too far from this formula, and the results are satisfying with some stand out tracks.  A couple of less rock-oriented, synth-dominant songs are well-structured but offer nothing unique, and fall a little flat. There are moments on the record that recall Porcupine Tree and Radiohead, proving that the band can take cues from their more popular contemporaries while still creating a sound that, while maybe not innovative, is still fresh.

An album that should be taken in as a whole, with a low-key pop atmosphere behind a thick cloud of haze, it makes for an enjoyable listen.






  1. This is not a singer's love. In other words, for someone who enjoys singing along, they are not an easy sing along group. They make for excellent background music. I can easily see a restaurant choosing this music because no one can actually understand the words. It blends into the scenery and provides good backdrop. I can also see myself falling asleep to this music... if not for the banging and clanging. The lead singer's voice is quite soothing.

    1. Robin-for a lot of progressive bands, I think the absence of "hooks" is what hinders them (that and the length of their songs).

      What attracts me to progressive music is the fact that there is usually more (musically) going on in the work, and you hear more with repeated listening.

      Of course, I also love a good three and a half minute pop song!


  2. I like it. Your review of this is very well done.

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