My bold prediction of 2009: Great Northern will not be on an independent label for much longer. The epic and stunning Remind Me Where The Light Is is one of the most complete and compelling records I’ve heard so far this year. While not my favorite of the year, the album contains absolutely no filler. Solon Bixler (ex-30 Seconds to Mars) and Rachel Stolte team up for an inspired sophomore effort that compels from start to finish. Most of the songs on the record are very accessible and would play well on mainstream radio. This is not to take anything away from Great Northern. It’s a compliment to the band’s compelling compositions. In an effort to expand their sound, the band decided to work with producer Michael Patterson (Beck, She Wants Revenge). Every track is a potential single.
The band has been releasing sneak peak videos titled with the number of remaining days left to the album’s release, but we’ve been spinning an advance copy for weeks and have anxiously been waiting to post a positive review. Unfortunately, Grey’s Anatomy got their hands on the stunningly beautiful “Driveway” to play during a scene where Meredith tells Derek about Izzie’s brain cancer (no, I don’t watch the show!). Bixler’s voice on the track is impressive for someone who was not a lead singer in his former band (that would be Angel Face … I mean Jared Leto).
Although Rachel Stolte handles the vocals on a majority of the songs, the lyrical collaboration on tracks like “Story,” “Warning” and “33” are high points on the album. Piano-driven tracks “Warning” and “33” highlight Stolte’s tremendous sense of melody, and Davey Latter provides serviceable percussion. Other album highlights include the Arcade Fire-like “Mountain” and Stolte’s incantation of Stevie Nicks on “Numbers.” A highly anticipated May gig at Johnny Brenda’s (200 capacity) in Philly promises to be a real treat. Remind Me Where the Light Is was released digitally on iTunes on 4/14 and will be in stores next Tuesday.