Who doesn’t enjoy a beautiful day of adventure and exploration? Broadening your horizons, walking through previously unexplored stretches, and, at the end of the day, leaving with a world-sized smile of duty done. This week’s NWNA is on one of those days.
When people talk about England, the real rock cities immediately come to mind, with the capital, London, at the forefront. From there come a thousand and one bands, from the most indie, to the ones that fill Glastonbury every year. Then there are the smaller towns, which are a bit off the beaten track – but which, with the internet, are so close to us that, with a couple of clicks, we discover things that make us feel at home.
With this motto well set, we head for the English southwest, more precisely for Falmouth. From there, we take a series of stretches, in an endurance course of about 7 hours, and stop in Brighton, land of rock, with bands like Black Honey, Metronomy, Royal Blood, or the already talked about Speedboat on the head. Meet Holiday Ghosts.
North Sreet Air
This is the British band’s third album, two years on from West Bay Playroom and four away from their first, named after the band. They are made up of drummer Katja Rackin and Sam Stacpoole on guitar. An immediate resemblance? Meg White and Jack White, with their The White Stripes. With no stripes to speak of, the band draws inspiration from various fronts, such as The Kinks, Violent Femmes, Alex Chilton, and the Modern Lovers, with the aim of breaking down the barriers between what is real and what is not so real.
The album, consisting of twelve beautiful themes, is played out in thirty-two minutes.
We start with Mr.Herandi, which talks about the duo’s landlord, recorded at…Mr.Herandi’s house, of course. The beat? A folk-country genre, with a beat so repetitive it won’t let go of our ears. The way the band moves is so interesting that we don’t want to move away from this style that seems so dated today, but is so accurate in this industry.
Off Grid and Blood Orange apply the original formula, with a little more classic rock n’ roll to the mix. The synergy is definite and beautiful, and the reality is that a nostalgic feeling doesn’t escape our thoughts. And so well characterized it is.
North Street Air, the theme that gives name to the record, drags us for two minutes and fifteen with an almost poetic way of declaiming the lyrics that compose it.
In a calmer rhythm, with a dose of cowboys mixed in, we have Makin A Fool, a theme that promises to leave our Clint Eastwood vein well marked. Spiritually speaking, of course.
Total Crisis and Leaving Today fire on the initial statement, more rock, riffs, and drums at the head. We remembered, halfway through, the Spanish girls’ Hinds. With a desire to hear more…and more…and more.
We close with Wallpaper. And the truth is that Katja’s voice in this song reminds us of Alison Mosshart, the mythical lead singer of The Kills and The Dead Weather projects. The lyrics, rhythm, and style are iconic, and can even be almost routinized as the ultimate Wallpaper of this record.
North Street Air is just that: thirty-two minutes of pure nostalgia, with a memory of the past glimpsing a choice future. And in this Holiday Ghosts are irreverent, with a personal touch that will certainly not be left in the lurch in times to come. A WtMM recommendation.