NORTHERN KIND - 53 Degrees North (2007)
"Very 80s synth inspired and hints of Depeche Mode Erasure and the like."
Matt Culpin & Sarah Heeley
"On And On"
02 On & On
03 Step Back
05 Thoughts Of You
06 Outer Circle
08 Seen The Light
11 You Belong
12 The Other Side
Link to download:
"This debut album of South Yorkshire’s electro due delivers upbeat, intelligent and poppy music to appeal a wide audience. All the ingredients for a nice party are included on one disc. This is the female version of The Human League of the year 2007. Opener “On and On” sounds so familiar for the first time, but never becomes too obvious and gives proof of efficient pop song writing. The track, “Millionaire” contains another bundle of fresh elements giving the refrain a nice twist. “Seen The Light” makes a wink to Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough”; the 80’s are never far away. Production wise this album sounds very professional and the vocals are worked out well. Happy tunes for sunshiny days!"
"Some great songs on this debut; modern synthpop but with a retro touch."
"Northern Kind's debut 'Fifty Degrees North' is heaven sent if you like your pop pure and analogue, it's like a previously undiscovered Vince Clarke session from January 1982 before he hooked up with Alison Moyet.
This album contains eternally lovable synth sounds that most of us will never tire of and the second track 'On & On' (proceeded by a very enticing instrumental), is without doubt, an electro gem that will more than likely make the proposed Electronically Yours CD compilation along with the illustrious likes of Marsheaux, Rachel Car, Schmoof, Beauty Skool Dropout, Dead Dog, Cassette Electrik and mighty Necroluxe (it's all beginning to take shape).It's another tale of unrequited love to some relentless synth programming and topped with femme fatale vocals - you can't really ask for a better combination.
Northern Kind is a guilty pleasure. You'll have it blasting out before a night out on the pull (or a night of endless wine consumption - whatever takes your fancy - wine doesn't answer back).
This collection of 12 tracks is immediately agreeable.
Track 5 'Thoughts Of You' is a very curious affair. Lead singer Sarah Heeley is a Sheffield lass born and bred so during the verses you may be reminded of the League's Susan Sulley (there is a definite accent in there) but as soon as the chorus kicks in, Sarah sounds like a cross between very early Madonna and current Sophie Ellis Bextor - and that's a bloody good vocal trio if you step back and think about it.
Track 7 'Home' could be from 'Madonna's 'Ray Of Light' if she had 'Speak And Spell' on repeat in William Orbit's studio with just a hint of early 80's Abba.The next track 'Seen The Light' is more Erasure circa 1987's 'The Circus' and it's a nice throwback to a very good pop album. A great analogue hook here reminiscent of it's leading single 'It Doesn't Have To Be'.'You Belong' is pure mid 80's 'True Blue' Madonna intertwined again with Erasure only this time it's their career defining 88 classic 'The Innocents'. On this track, Northern Kind bare their soul with this dreamy slow burner with Orbit-like production and the chorus has a fantastic vocal hook. We think this should be the next digital single download.
One of our most repeated Northern Kind tracks is the album finale 'The Other Side'. There is a bit of 88 Inner City in here in terms of the bassline whilst 90% of it is made up of Madonna's 1983 debut (and we should all still be celebrating that album).Sarah's vocals are really warm and inviting on this hook laden finale (her vocal range is spot-on throughout).Extra mention must be made in honour of the production and programming (it will hit you once you rip the album to your desired mp3 player). You won't find any mention of this on Northern Kind's myspace page, but Sarah's musical companion Matt Culpin has actually done some programming for Depeche Mode in the past so that gives you an idea of just how polished some of these tracks are on this shiny happy debut.
'Fifty Degrees North' contains solid little pop nuggets all with a sweet and seductive analogue center. If you swooned over Marsheaux's 'Peek A Boo' than EY can safely deliver to your ears another classy CD with Factory inspired sleeve design."
Sarah Heeley and Matt Culpin make up this duo which hails from Sheffield, in the north of England, also a stomping ground for the 80's band Human League. It is this influence which shines most prominently in Northern Kind's music, with very sharp production and top-notch vocals from Sarah. This is quite easily one of the best bands to come out of the underground synthpop scene in a number of years.