NORTHERN LIBERTIES - Secret Revolution

Northern Liberties - Secret Revolution

19 songs
58:23 minutes
***** ***


Some bands just follow the fashion and bore the hell out of me. Rarer are those that find a niche of their own. They also don't make life easy for the common music reviewer, but at least they command our undivided attention. Philadelphia three-piece Northern Liberties, founded in 2000, only need drums, percussion, bass and vocals to make their music work. Of course this is conjuring images of NoMeansNo and Ruins, and strangely enough Northern Liberties cover a song by a band called Ruin (not Ruins).

Secret Revolution is basically a rock album, where the bass is played like a guitar, giving the music a weirdly humming and droning sound. The lack of guitars puts the music into a very deep register, but Justin Duerr's vocals sometimes have this enigmatic punk quality that gives the songs a festive ambience. His brother Marc enriches the songs with his busy drumming, while bass player K. provides melody and rhythm.

Northern Liberties are best when they are carried away by big melodies, like on Angels With Broken Glass Teeth and Long Distance Shadow. Their punk roots are showing when they cover Ruin's Great Divide or on the Fugazi-like Auto Pilot. The album's only problem is that one hour is just too long for this genre so full of detail.

The artwork has been created by singer Justin Duerr, who combines exceptional technique with a weird twist of spirituality into an artistic entity which is as original as it is beautiful to behold. Sold for only 6 US$ (plus postage if you live outside the US), Worldeater Records distribute their releases for the lowest possible price. Those who are into guitar-less alt punk rock music which is experimental and catchy at the same time, will have to get a copy of Secret Revolution.

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