The North Atlantic - Wires In the Walls (Cover Artwork)

The North Atlantic

Wires In the Walls (2003)

Stay In / Get Down

Recorded at Audio Design and Big Fish Studios, mixed by Ben Moore (Hot Snakes, Rocket from the Crypt) and engineered by Jason Clark, The North Atlantic's Wires In The Walls is a testament to hidden talent. The change from their first record, Buried Under Tundra, is like a pupa to a winged creature. On Wires In The Walls the dynamics have been unwound, strung up and hammered out, with stylistic changes and the pummeling of instruments with interludes of choreographed sanity abound among dissonance and guitar rage.

Lyrics hollered like pellets from a riot shotgun, "When I was your age / I used to get the fuck down / sexy girls all soft and round / planes spit fire from their mouths and cities miles in the ground…" There's much controlled chaos on behalf of guitarist/vocalist Jason Hendrix's playing, using bends and harmonics in between riffs coupled with a wicked low end expertly executed by bassist Jason Ricards and a rhythm section unparallel in perfection by drummer Cullen Hendrix, all of which make Wires In The Walls one of the strongest San Diego releases in the past few years

Maintaining a proto-futuristic-paranoid theme throughout the entire record, each song leads deftly into the next while stamping out custom refugee camps in their musical dystopia. Staccato guitar riffs stab distorted holes in every song and the Bonham-like drumming of drummer Cullen Hendrix compliments every thought-provoking, brilliantly thought out lyric.

One of several stand out tracks on Wires In The Walls is the barnburner "Street Sweepers," a long-form exposé on the terrors of the urban landscape, as singer Jason Hendrix does his best at screaming out a metaphorical indictment against loneliness. The second most notable track on Wires In The Walls is "Atmosphere Vs. The Dogs Of Dawn." Dropped down to A, the guitar and bass cut bowel-shaking incisions, which culminate in one of the more memorable final lines, "Pilot Pilot / Bombardier 2 / Abort! Abort! / I can't hear you." It's the closest a song has ever come to being a seven-minute representation of "Kubricks, Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to love the Bomb."

What is most important to note here is the utter talent represented by Jason Hendrix's lyrics. For a band that has built their fan base from the ground up by doing five national tours, it's a shame that anyone outside of the sphere of knowledge hasn't had the opportunity to share in this band. It's also hard to believe that this band is only a three piece.

What is also hard to believe is that for a band who's shared the stage with such greats as Planes Mistaken for Stars, Party of Helicopters and Cursive to be so underapreciated even in their own town is criminal. The best parts of Archers of Loaf, Fugazi and The Clash are represented here along with the wordsmithery of Jason Hendrix that would make Blake Schwartzenbach envious.

Pick this up, Iceland will be swallowed!