Trevor Baker, Rock Sound, September 2003

It’s one of those funny quirks of geography that so many Scottish bands seem to make slow, hazy dreamy music that owes its existence to more energetic Americana formed in much sunnier climes. Northern Alliance, for example, sound like a slowed-down Teenage Fanclub on the first track here, ‘Buildings of the Future’, and Teenage Fanclub, of course, sound like a slowed-down Byrds or Big Star. Admittedly ‘Earthquake Zone’ begins with a faintly hectic fuzz of feedback, but we’re soon sprawled out with a laconic vocal – and by the lovely ‘Festivity In The Arms Of The People’, we’re practically in Slowdive territory. Where their recent American equivalents (Will Oldham, Sparklehorse) sing in leathery, pained drawls, there’s a freshness about Northern Alliance which is kind of refreshing. This is an unassuming album, but a very likeable one.

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