Chris Merriman, Subba-Cultcha, 30.10.06

Promising late night bedsit rock for those lone Jack Daniels’ moments

Northern Alliance are every inch a live band – their new album has been recorded in a loft and it shows, with professional production values but a fresh raw sound. It’s like listening to a session or a soundcheck. Ironically, the group have played only 4 gigs ever – though this is all set to change. Strange, for a band who sound like they should be so at home on the stage. But this perhaps adds to the enigma of the bands contradictory nature. From start to finish, it’s a weird collection of opposites – from “Start of Winter” sounding like “Split” era Lush, to the dark brooding shoegazery of “Line In The Sand”, it’s very hard to really get a finger on exactly where Northern Alliances… erm… alliances lie. You’d be hard pushed to find anything to mosh to here, the tempo is slow and lazy but the passion is raw and aggressive – tuneful power pop for stoners – one almost envisages early Pulp – a band with introspection and promise, with a potential to do something beyond even their own expectations. Worth having knocking around, just in case it’s the precursor for something bigger. It probably won’t be, but then tell that to the people who told me that “Creep” by Radiohead sounded “like bad U2”. As they say themselves – “We are a band of hope”.

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