Northern Liberties, Ghost Mind Electricity

Northern Liberties, Ghost Mind Electricity

Northern Liberties has been around awhile, playing up and down the East Coast and only recently getting as far west as Dallas. (They skipped Houston, for some strange reason. Or not.) Ghost Mind Electricity is interesting, strongly experimental post-punk, with little variation on a theme that Northern Liberties feels extremely comfortable exploring. “Controlled By Voices From Beyond” starts out with midrangy AM radio vocal samples, then flips the switch into a drum-driven assault.

Lead singer Justin Duerr is eerily reminicient of a spacey Jello Biafra, especially when he isn’t wailing, with the same powerful warble (if that makes sense) but greater range. “Children of Unholy Light” is less controlled, with questionably tuneful vocal melodies slapped over a downtuned (C#?) bass line. “Among The Unborn” slows things down, a melodic bass line (doubled by with what sounds like an acoutic bass) starting a nice build to the repetitive second section of the song.

Gotta give props to bassist Kevid Riley — really interesting parts, with enough variation to keep things interesting but never devolving into wankery. The brothers Duerr (Marc is the drummer) have a lot of interesting rhythmic interplay, and unique percussion sounds keep popping up (the swooshy drum scrapes in “Changing”). “E.G.G.” might be the most interesting musically, flipping between time signatures with a nice left turn about halfway through. The album ends with “Asylum” and “National Anthem (for Birds),” the former building from a clean bass and drum nursery rhyme groove to a strong bashing ending, while the latter could be could be a folk song in some twisted alternative universe.

Regardless of the sameness of the song structure here, the energy is powerful, and I’ve heard Northern Liberties’s live show is killer. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, bands like this really need to be seen instead of heard; while one can pick apart the clammy note here and there on the album, they fly by in the moment, and the listener is left with a memory trace of the whole rather than distinct songs.

(Worldeater Records -- P.O. Box 42728, Philadelphia, PA. 19101; http://www.worldeaterrecords.org/; Badmaster Records -- 4500 Kingsessing Ave., Philadelphia, PA. 19143; http://www.badmasterrecords.com/; Northern Liberties -- http://www.myspace.com/northernliberties)
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, January 3rd, 2009. Filed under Reviews.

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