We chatted with The North Sea before and it’s apparent that they have admirable tastes. Mmoths, Buffalo Sunn and All Tvvins in the Irish camp; Roy Orbison, Tame Impala and Jamie xx in the other. It’s odd then, that their debut full-length Anniversary bears more than a bit of Jonny Marr about it than it does ‘ol Jamie. Still, that’s not a bad thing, we’re talking about taste rather than influence and as such Anniversary is steeped in confident and intelligent compositions and stikes immediately with its mission statement.
There are moments of riotous sound juxtaposed with quieter considerations and they’re all wrapped up in Eoin Kenny’s youthful, energetic vitriol. ‘I Promise’ and its angular guitars makes for a promising start to the ten-track record; the drumming is tight and hypnotically rhythmic at times, the bass nuancing Kenny’s wistful vocals. ‘December’ ramps up the genre-splitting ethos of the band by gnarling the post-punk mentality into something with a lighter touch, while ‘In Love’ and ‘Vulnerable’ work to show The North Sea in a more contemplative light, prone to the same existentialist realities that plague the rest of us. There are traces of everybody from Editors to Suede hidden away in Anniversary.
If anything this brings the music home, so to speak, and therein lies the beauty of Anniversary; it seamlessly flits from one extreme to the other without jarring the listener and as such makes for a rewarding listen. It’s fair to say that while Kenny and co. might well be beginning to find their feet proper, they’ve made a promising, and now very public, first step in doing so. Now comes the dreaded second album, but we’re quite confident The North Sea won’t have too much trouble with that.