Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
If we don’t sit down occasionally and see life through the medium of our senses and just keep going on to derive some ludicrous pleasure from over consuming then how do we ever hope to grow and listen, to think, to enjoy art for what it is, the prospect of hope in a world of diminishing responsibility, one that can thrill, make you ponder without ever having to aggressively become a stunted and single thought human being.
To sit down and truly place yourself in the words or thoughts of another is a bonus of life and in Alistair Anderson & Northlands self titled album, the heightened awareness of the stories at hand are to be keenly enjoyed, mulled over by a roaring fire and to feel the cobwebs fall away; it is a set of songs that really garner affection and much sympathy for some of the protagonists whose stories the listener is compelled to hear.
Alistair Anderson, Sophy Ball, Sarah Hayes and Ian Stephenson combine brilliantly on the album and from the very start of the recording the measure of the framed songs are cool, driven by anger but also contemplation, of making sure that history is told correctly and without the sense of damnation in their hearts.
As the opening track, Taking On Men duly notes, the circle of life is at times harsh, it is balanced out by the boom times but never the stable foundation in which to plan properly for a life time; even if the world was able to encourage such beliefs, it would soon be shot down in flames by those to whom money is not only a god but it is also a battering ram to beat the working man over the head with, to entice and to threaten.
In tracks such as Iain MacPhail’s Compliments To Chrissie Latham/ Cooper of Stannerton Heugh/ One-Horned Sheep, Last Shift and the beauty held within I Drew My Ship Into A Harbour, Alistair Anderson & Northlands remark on life that too many might seem out of step with the modern world but to whom the listener soon realises is just that circle once more coming round once more.
An inspired piece of music, one that in the end leaves the listener with no choice but to truly sit down and listen; to be part of something much larger than their own perceptions.
Ian D. Hall