Review: North Atlantic Oscillation – Fog Electric
Published on May 7th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
According to Wikipedia, “the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean of fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic low and the Azores high.” Not your normal band then, and recording alongside the impeccably credential-ed Tony Doogan [Super Furry Animals, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian amongst many others] has yielded one of the most striking albums you’ll hear all year.
Opener “Soft Coda” (see what they may have done there?) arrives SMiLE-ily with bewitching a capella harmonies before going on to sound like some heavenly mix of Mew, My Bloody Valentine and the Super Furries, building and crashing with a sharp melodic sensibility all of its own and generally being about as flippin’ epic as you can be in just four minutes and twenty seconds.
“Chirality” guides atonal beauty into Flaming Lips-y noise, and indeed “Mirador” sounds a bit like a Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots b-side that explodes into Talk Talk magnificence and ends up sounding stunningly like a proggier Sigur Rós.
“Empire Waste” is turbo-charged drony melodrama that turns first into eardrum-shredding euphoria and then into stringswept acoustic fingerpicking, mesmerising and complex in an almost Field Music kind of way, while the angular melody, chiming piano and electronic tinkles of “The Receiver” show this climatic phenomenon to be well ahead of even most bands in terms of creating highly evolved pop music that both soars and bewitches.
The magical “Downhill” seguing into the rushing lullaby instrumental of “(Theory of Tides)” makes for a logical conclusion to an album that although short on playfulness is consistently beautiful and never less than excellently executed.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!