Surprisingly, the most hook-laden aggressive indie record we've heard so far this year was actually recorded in 2003, given limited release and then shelved when its creators, San Diego-based The North Atlantic, went on hiatus. Even more surprising is that the angular post-hardcore act is only a trio (the brothers Hendrix on guitar and drums and bassist Jason Richards), as there are jagged guitars all over the post-hardcore band's fire-breathing set Wires In The Walls. Of course, The North Atlantic's giant chords, lacerating harmonics and caffeinated tempos are a well-worn musical idiom (particularly for those familiar with Pilot To Gunner's Games At High Speeds, for example), and the band owes an audible debt to classic D.C. acts including Jawbox and other '90s outfits like Friction. Even so, The North Atlantic, which originally convened in 1999 and now has its proverbial act back together post-hiatus, distinguishes itself from the myriad D.C.-influenced hangers-on with unbridled energy and the occasional unexpected keys and ambient touches ("Atmosphere vs. The Dogs Of Dawn").
Earlier this month the band issued a video for Wires In The Walls' moody anomaly "Bottom Of This Town" [watch it/download it to your video IPod here]. The song atypically leans on synths in the verse, and almost sounds as if it is performed by a different band than the one that elsewhere smashes out surgically precise cuts such as the Archers Of Loaf-ish album highlight "The Man Who Saved Your Ass" (which opens with the brash proclamation "when I was your age I'd get the f*ck down"). As artful as a lot of the delivery is on Wires In The Walls, lyricist Jason Hendrix isn't above the direct statement; later he candidly sings in "Scientist Girl" the line "I'd rather listen to The Clash all night than be with you." We Put Out Records/East West Records reissued Wires In The Wall July 11, and the band has just completed an all-too-brief east coast tour. Considering the band's non-linear path to date, it's anybody's guess what to expect next. For now, how about some MP3s?
The North Atlantic -- "Scientist Girl" -- Wires In The Walls
The North Atlantic -- "Drunk Under Electrics" -- Wires In The Walls
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The North Atlantic -- MySpace
[Buy Wires In The Walls from Insound here]