The North Atlantic - Wires in the Walls (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The North Atlantic

Wires in the Walls (2006)

EastWest / We Put Out

I have to confess that math rock has always been one of those things I've really wanted to get into but I have always had a hard time making a smooth transition from being a fan of it played live to fan of it on my stereo. The North Atlantic leave that problem in the dust on their new album, Wires in the Walls, by producing a perfect blend of absolute melody, rock, and math nerdness.

What's best about the North Atlantic is displayed immediately. Their technical abilities never stop the band from bursting into giant melodic rock moments, best displayed in the transition between the first and second tracks, "The Lotus Eater" and "Drunk Under Electrics." The former starts off with nothing but clapping, shouting, and a jagged guitar note before bursting into a spastic two-and-a-half romp of nearly drowned-out vocals and, again, those spastic guitars. Meanwhile, the opening notes of "Dark Under Electrics" is a huge riff influenced equally by mid-`90s grunge and Small Brown Bike.

Throughout its entire duration, Wires in the Walls, tries to do it all. Rather than fall short in every aspect, they excel. While the aforementioned Michigan post-punk sound dominates much of the record, the North Atlantic are especially great when trying out poppier songs, such as the stellar "Scientist Girl," whose lines "I'd rather listen to the Clash all night, than be with you," come off amazingly strong instead of sounding as dreadful as they first appear. This feel continues through the next song, "Bottom of This Town," a stunningly beautiful and atmospheric song. However, the album's final track, "The Ministry of Helicopters," is an all out assault textured with far too many layers to pick apart.

Wires in the Walls is actually an old album. The band pressed a few hundred copies of it back in 2003 and sold it on their last tour before going on hiatus while vocalist/guitarist Jason Hendrix pursued a college degree. After playing a couple of shows the band decided that hey, this is fun. We Put Out Records picked them up and re-released the album. Go ahead and thank them.