Overall Score: 7/10 : 1/10 : 1/10 : 1/10 Pros: Cons:
Following on from a highly successful tour with Porcupine Tree, ‘Grapping Hooks’ is the much anticipated debut album from Scottish Experimental / Progressive Rock trio North Atlantic Oscillation and it does not disappoint. The album is released on March 22nd through Kscope and features the single ‘Drawing Maps from Memory’ which has been getting heavy airplay from Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, describing it as “Super exciting new Rock n Roll for a new decade”
It’s an ambitious album, songs like ‘Cell Count’ & ‘Audioplastic’ verging on the trippy, through to the dancing riff of the 65DaysOfStatic-esque ‘Star Chamber’. The band draw on their influences and these can be heard throughout, this if anything would be my only criticism. Mogwai sound like Mogwai, it is a distinctive sound. NAO sound like Mogwai, or Muse, or Radiohead, or any other of their peers, and whilst the album truly is a great listen it doesn’t have a unique sound that should separate them from the pack. For a debut album it leaves me feeling impressed but a bit like my school reports used to say, that the band is ‘capable of better’. That’s not a negative comment, on the contrary, the talented musicianship and variety of styles on display is dazzling but if the band can nail down there own sound then we really do have something very special.
That said, I love the album. It’s complete, no need to be skipping tracks here, it flows and paints a sumptuous soundscape. ‘Ritual’ stands out with it’s delicate repetitive melody before suddenly erupting into a stirring riff that is ultimately cut too short leaving the listener wanting more. And that’s the beauty of the album, that it needs repeat visits to appreciate it, to discover the nuances of the tracks and above all, indulge in it.
- Hollywood Has Ended
- Cell Count
- Some Blue Hive
- Ceiling Poem
- 77 Hours
- Star Chamber
- Drawing Maps From Memory
The video for ‘Drawing Maps from Memory’ can be seen here