Andy Penfold, Q, October 2003 [3/5]

Scottish trio formerly known as – doh! The Taliban.

Having wisely ditched the name The Taliban early on, Northern Alliance’s debut is a sleepy foray into muted atmospherics. Formed at a hogmanay party to celebrate the dawn of 2002, the band have since combined the spooky keyboards and gentle guitar of Sparklehorse with the sparse, experimental noise of Mogwai. Doug Johnstone and Viv Strachan share vocal duties and their distant voices tell of small-scale hopes and fears. Skin is Dust, Dust is Skin covers pollution and germs while Earthquake Zone is a rock’n’roll tale of urban destruction. Unlikely to crack the Afghan market, but certainly promising.

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