Written By: Victor Alfieri
Do you ever sit down and listen to an album? I mean sit down and really listen? You’re sitting there and as you listen to the music, things just jump right out at you. Musical influences, similarities, mimicry…it all stands out. Then you start to wonder if they are just ripping off the previous musicians or have they been influenced and then made the sound theirs?
With Mrnorth and Fear & Desire, they have taken a tremendous variety of music and made it theirs. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, the band now calls New York home. The band consists of Colin Smith (vocals, guitar), his cousins Emmett (guitar, vocals) & Oisin O’Malley (bass, keyboards) and Adrian Mordaunt (drums, percussion). Off of Rock Ridge Music, they have created an album that is hard to pin down. At any given moment, you can hear what could be references to U2, The Cure, Australian bands Jet & Jon Butler Trio among others. Smith, at times sounds like Chris Cornell and during “The Player,” he sounds a lot like Dexter Holland of The Offspring.
The opening track, “Overture,” is eerily beautiful. The Greenwich Village Orchestra guests on this track. The feel is almost like it would be a song played at the end of a suspense movie where all Hell had broken loose, but the good guys still came out on top…barely.
We dive right into the second track, “Love Is,” with full orchestration and electric guitars. While Smith sounds nothing like Robert Smith of The Cure, this song reminds me musically of them. “Sleeping Dogs” sounds like something that Whitesnake forgot to put on their last album. Somehow, Mrnorth make this 80s hair band power ballad work.
This band has the ability to mash full orchestration, power riffs, soft music, melancholy ballads and anthemic screamers all on one album. None of it seems out of place and with each song, I found myself looking forward to what came next. It certainly makes me want to check out their new live release, Live in New York. Either way, this makes a very nice addition to my Ipod. I’ll slide it in between Movers & Shakers (from a previous review) and My Morning Jacket.