Paul Whitelaw, Metro, 21.10.03 [3/5]

Edinburgh is home to many things – parliament, tramps, posh idiots, me – but smoggy country-tinged psychedelia ain’t one of ’em. Or so I thought ’til I fell into Northern Alliance, who sound like Mazzy Star doing Mojave 3 doing the entire Matador back-catalogue. Slowly. Featuring the vocals of Douglas Johnstone (boy) and Viv Strachan (girl), NA are seeped in sadness and share a penchant for slowly unfolding dynamics and crashing wave crescendos with fellow Scots sad-sacks The Zephyrs. They give their songs nicely bleak titles like Campaign For Dark Skies and Skin Is Dust, Dust Is Skin, which sound exactly as you’d imagine. It’s a genuinely affecting little record with a heart as heavy as the sun. Most promising.

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