Northstar - Pollyanna (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Pollyanna (2004)

Triple Crown

Northstar's 2002 debut Is This Thing Loaded? was a CD packed with potential but ripe with disappointment at almost every turn. The band's poppy-rock sound, reminiscent of former labelmates Brand New, was enjoyable enough in small spurts, but too many of the songs felt too disjointed, and to be frank, the drumming was absolutely terrible. Still, I could hear that the band was learning, and after seeing them live I was convinced that something good is happening here, they just hadn't captured it yet.

With Pollyanna, Northstar finds themselves still reaching for that brass ring, but they're inching closer and closer this time.

Right from the opening salvo of "For Members Only" followed by the title track, you know the band has taken a decidedly poppier stance than before. The guitar riff in "Pollyanna" is a little too close to New Found Glory's "My Friends Over You" for comfort, but it just shows the direction the band is aiming for. As a plus, they do the pop-punk stuff well, as evidenced with the album's dynamite standout "To My Better Angel" [an early version of which appeared on the Beer: The Movie soundtrack last summer]. If Triple Crown was smart, they'd get a video for this track to FUSE as soon as possible, as it would be absolutely huge.

I'm still amazed as each song passes at just how lazily Nick Torres sings. It's almost jazzy in a way, as he lackadaisically croons lines like "you move me like I've got new feet" over driving guitars. I get the feeling he was the kid in high school who got yelled at for slouching in his desk. It's a blessing and a curse - I'd recognize Torres' voice anywhere, but it also prevents some of the more snappy tracks on the disc to really stand out vocally, thus becoming forgettable.

And that is Pollyanna's biggest fault - just a little too much of it is forgettable. There are so many bands doing this sound right now [and even more using the oh-so-cliche screaming, something that Northstar wisely avoids] that it takes a miracle to get people to stand up and take notice of you. Northstar hasn't wished upon the right star yet, but give them another album or so and you could definitely see some magic happen.

The Pornographer's Daughter
For Members Only