Monday, June 22, 2009

Last Days – The Safety of the North

While there’s a good portion of instrumental rock that gets ascribed the “cinematic” tag, Graham Richardson may be the only artist who embraces it to the point of structuring an album after a script of sorts. Safety of the North focuses on the experiences of a young girl named Alice whose family leaves the city for a simpler life in the north. “May Your Days Be Gold” is a song in Alice’s voice that swells with the promise of nature. The good cheer, marked by ascendant acoustic guitar, gentle piano and heartbeat electronics, gradually gives way to doubt and darker times. On “Life Support” the piano theme is subsumed by the crackle of static and what sounds like unmanned shortwave. By “Nothing Stays the Same, Nothing Ever Ends” hope gets lost in a snowstorm of noise but reappears in the melancholy strings after it subsides. In man vs. nature it’s clear that Richardson will not pick a favourite.


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