| Whenever I listen to Wires in the Walls, I feel like I'm listening to the new sound that will completely replace screamo in the semi-heavy underground. The North Atlantic plays a brand of post-punk rock that is spastic and bombastic with elements of bizarre and sensitivity all mixed in appropriately.
The vocal work is one of the greatest things about this album. The first track opens with shouted verses reminiscent of These Arms are Snakes. In "Drunk Under Electrics," which is available at their Purevolume site, he sings while screaming, a bit like Bullet Train To Vegas. In the fifth track he almost sounds like Tim Armstrong. In "Bottom of This Town," he sings half of the song in a low register much like Ian Curtis or Morrissey would, while he delivers the other half the way Robert Smith would sing in higher register. "Cities" is an almost only vocal song that resembles a Simon and Garfunkel-like harmonization. "Street Sweepers" is a song that will stick because of the masterful guitarline. The guitarist/vocalist even pulls off a lengthy fingertap without distortion.
None of these songs are without their interesting instrumental arrangements. The trio has an obvious Fugazi influence, while the chords they play resemble Nebraskan bands like Cursive, whom they recently toured with, and Criteria. At their thrashiest they incorporate an augmented sound similar to Fear Before the March of Flames and Blood Brothers.
The North Atlantic does more than just verse-chorus-verse song structure. In "The Man Who Saved Your Ass," the vocals are consistently hoarse and intense while the instruments are soft for the first half off the song, and eventually grow to become as heavy as the vocals and drown them out at the very last second.
"Scientist Girl" is a sunny punk tribute, replete with "ooh-oohs" and the memorable line: "I'd rather listen to the Clash all night than be with you." "Atmosphere vs. the Dogs of Dawn" is a seven minute, creepy-crawly track that once again showcases the excellent guitar-n-bass work.
There really isn't much missing in this album. The North Atlantic can be fast and thrashy at one point and then slow and pensive half a minute later without sounding unnatural. This album carries through and you'll want to listen to the whole thing. Commercial success is unlikely as the album is not very consistent, nor does it carry any symptoms of mainstream music. Which makes it a great album in my opinion.
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| WIRES IN THE WALLS
1) The Lotus Eater
<< 2) Drunk Under Electrics >>
4) The Man Who Saved Your Ass
5) Scientist Girl
6) Bottom of this Town
7) Street Sweepers
8) Atmosphere vs. the Dogs of Dawn
10) Swallows Air
11) The Ministry of Helicopters