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Great Northwest, The - The Widespread Reign of the... Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.75
Creativity 9.25
Lasting Value 9.5
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 90%
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Great Northwest, The - The Widespread Reign of the...

Reviewed by: Matthew Tsai (07/21/09)
The Great Northwest- The Widespread Reign of the Great Northwest
Record Label: The Kora Records
Release Date: Circa 2008

Sometimes contemporary music just gets boring. Bands nowadays are easier to start than ever; thanks to the quick fix of technology, sounds nowadays are easier to imitate than ever. Bottom line: everybody just sounds like everybody else and sometimes that is tiring to the ears. Music consumers need fresh sounds.

Given the situation, I like The Great Northwest as a kind of revolutionary “unknown rebel who stood against the tanks at Tiananmen Square” sort of character. It’s easy to see why. Admittedly, their largely original style of recurring guitar motifs and faux-space electronics in The Widespread Reign Of The Great Northwest might not ignite some kind of grand revolt for novelty, but it’s just so cutting edge and undiscovered that the refreshment it brings to music seems like it unquestionably should.

The downside is that the album will run as an acquired taste for most people, and the significant financial cutbacks from not producing a catchy mainstream album are like the government’s tanks. These days, you either give birth to a finely auto-tuned pop record or count on your income to flow from sympathetic fans through PayPal. In light of this, it’s a relief there are still bands like The Great Northwest foregoing the comfort of immediate lucrativity for the hopes of just making good music.

At this album’s core, that’s what it really is: good music. It’s an experimental look at what a mash up of elements like shoegaze, electronica, and dare I say, post-rock, can contribute to musical society. Sometimes, it’s vocals-less; sometimes, there is distant “astro-singing” (see: “Western America”) – always, it is captivating. Imagine endless repetition of an acoustic riff flanked by airy digital effects and a soft urge to close your eyes and relax. Ahhh... the beauty of the construction of these songs is extraordinary.

It seems like non-generic/ambiguous adjectives (ie. gorgeous, beautiful, etc.) are hard to employ when trying to paint the literary picture of what The Widespread Reign... really sounds like. Maybe it's because it's just too avant-garde and enthralling. In either case, such an album needs to become an unequivocal must-buy on anybody's top priorities list. You're sure to find something here you'll like.

Recommended If You LikeDrone-y, repititous ambience, relaxation for the mind
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