In their second release as Great Northern, Los Angeles’ Solon Bixler and Rachel Stolte go for a grander, more Anglo-rock sound, and are successful. If anything, one wants more of the growth they show from 2007’s debut Trading Twilight For Daylight, as the duo eschew that record’s more indie-pop stylings for something more effective and impressive. There are even alt-country guitar undertones beneath much of their work, altogether making a strong statement.
That statement begins with the forward march of opener “Story”, though the rest of Remind Me can’t quite keep up that brisk pace. Instead, the record expands with the slightly echoing haunt of “Houses” and growing sunrise of “Fingers”; that expanse is the hallmark of the best tracks on Remind Me, like the return to bright forward march “Mountain”, and especially the following “Warning”, whose ultimate press growth makes it the clear stand out. And Remind Me ends with the expanding pressure finish of the penultimate “Numbers”, then the stripped, acoustic epilogue that builds into something bigger at its end in closer “33” (though if you’ve already got a song with the same name as the classic Season One Hurley episode of Lost, it wouldn’t take that much to change “33” to “23”…).
However, in the middle of the record, Great Northern sometimes lose their momentum when they embrace sadder, slower songs, like the piano-led “Stop” (which kind of does that on Remind Me), the following “New Tricks”, or “Driveway”, which wastes some of the press coming out of “Warning”. Maybe Remind Me would have been too one-note without those excursions, but when the band’s already got one great new sound down pat, do they really need to try for another?
On tour next month with the similarly Anglo-expansive (and similarly not actually from merry ol’ England…) Dears (QRO photos on tour with Great Northern), Great Northern look sure to expand even further. Remind Me Where the Light Is is a great way to start.
MP3 Stream: "Warning"