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North Star - Feel The Cold CD (album) cover


North Star



3.46 | 33 ratings

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4 stars One does wonder when listening to North Star's Feel the Cold if a band like this could even exist if not for Gabriel-era Genesis. It is both an obvious and unfair question to ask such a dazzling trio: Would the two brothers & singer have ever composed such distinctive and complex art-rock if not for the British prog institution, or would they've done something less derivative but not as attractive? And do acts like this stunt their own musical potential by being wed to a group so inimitable? The world may never know. The world doesn't care, for that matter. To think that in 1985 anyone other than a handful of teens and a few weepy thirtysomethings had access to, let alone an ear for, these fellas is adorable but mistaken.

But I can't quite get past what a kickin' little record of post-Symph this is. Channeling other artists is risky at best, a disaster at worst, but when you figure it's just three guys handling all the keys, strings, percussives and voxes, it is admirable. And the material is tasty, well performed and reasonably mixed. The title has Joe Newman's plaintive Gabriel grouse and the Leonard's orchestrina synths laid down with pro acumen, almost indistinguishable from what Peter & Co. would've done as a demo for a new album, followed by '80s ringer 'Sands of Time' with a simpler drone and bass pedals bringing up the rear, and racing if un-intoned and not-quite-right 'Moving the Base' with nods to the Police.

'Plastic Fantastic' is a midtempo prog charmer, playful and light with flavorful synth settings, tricky time changes, and never bores; Nine-minute 'Tomorrow Never Comes' is unabashed Genesism ~ absolutely no shame ~ but kicks ass so we don't really care, even reaching UK levels of showmanship, a marvelous cut, with two leisurely instrumental trail-offs.

When you're good, you're good, and credit must be given when due. Such reverence for a band other than one's own does not exclude one from occasional greatness, and North Star proves that here. Nice work, boys.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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