Northsyde - The Storyteller's Daughter
Anyone who has seen this band live will know that together, they have that ability to lift a whole room into another stratosphere and front lady Lorna Fothergill can both strip the paint from the walls and hold you close and whisper in your ear. To translate that onto an album is not easy but this has to be one of the best vocal led blues-rock releases of 2013. There is so much to like about it and there is not a track on it that disappoints.
The formula for their success is obvious. Firstly, it is clear that this is a tight, solid collective of brilliant musicians who have paid their dues and who think as one. With Ian Mauricio and Hayden Doyle at the back - so close that you can't separate them with the proverbial Rizla - and the stunningly talented guitarist Jules Fothergill conjuring solos, rhythms and fills from nowhere, Lorna's raw and beautifully powerful voice is given the perfect platform to fly free and unfettered.
And then there are the lyrics. Apparently all crafted by Lorna they are incredibly smart and tell compelling, sometimes bitter sad stories many of which, if you have ever been in a one-sided relationship, will have you nodding a knowing glance at your past. Sometimes, the sentiment feels so angry you want to clap in agreement. The outburst on 'Chicken Shit' reminds me very much of the Marianne Faithful/Keith Richard fiercesome attack song “Why'd Ya Do It?” But it is not all sad despair and as the title track says, sometimes 'you can catch her with her guard down and her head on straight'. So. Fine band. Brilliant lyrics.
And then there are Jules and Lorna. So well crafted are the arrangements that you only first notice Jules' brilliance when he opens up and lets go in 'Spinhead' and later he is given the freedom of the six minute track 'Messing Around'' to show just how spellbinding and soulful the guitar can be. Echoes here of Jim Mullen at the top of his game.
And then there is The Voice. Having seen her live, I try and refrain from making comparisons. (Lorna can sing Janis, Plant, Amy, AC/DC, anybody - check Youtube). The blues/rock music scene is currently blessed with some fine female singers but Lorna's voice is unique and this album shows exactly how powerful, raw and sensitive a top class singer can be when she has the right material and some fine musicians around her..
Go get this album. I lived in a road called Northside for fifteen years....it was never this exciting...