North of Tomorrow’s New LP “Something Unexpected”

The weighty words that are sung in “Go Where You Find It,” one of the dozen songs that comprise North of Tomorrow’s new LP Something Unexpected, pour out of our speakers smoothly, but still manage to drag us asunder in with their introspective prose just the same. An exotic lead slashes through the pristine melodies and opens the floodgates on an insular, pressurizing outro that will take us directly into “Pray for Rain” and eventually “Something Out of Nothing” of this magnificent debut album, and though the starry gem “Go Where You Find It” is only a sample of what Something Unexpected is all about, the vulnerability that it showcases is like no other that I’ve heard in an alternative record this spring. 

Ominous rhythm gives “Window Dressing,” “At First Blush,” and the harmony-centric “New October” a lot of additional emotionalities that wouldn’t have been present in the music otherwise, while bold crooning dominates in “Shakey Bones,” “It Could Have Been Me,” and “My Sweet Spot,” but none of this content seems thrown-together or unbalanced as a complete piece at all. Contrarily, there are some moments (like in “We Were a Heart Away” and “Something Out of Nothing”, for example) where Something Unexpected feels like a stripped-down indie rock opera. The no-frills aesthetic of the surrealism movement (which no doubt helped with the songwriting process here) is a prominent feature in this album, but it’s countered with a slight bombast that makes every stitch of audio feel and sound larger than life. 

Lyrically speaking, “Lean on In,” “My Sweet Spot,” “SuperExtraordinary,” and “New October” are some of the most disturbingly tangible, and enormously involved, compositions that I’ve listened to in 2023. This crew originally brought this unit together to raise some awareness about America’s increasing underground wit, but I don’t think that the music here is relatable to those affected by the indie pulse exclusively. These tracks are multi-interpretive, and more impressively, joined together by the passionate pen of the players, all three of whom are lighting it up here. 

“Lean on In” is quite reminiscent of something that the old school would have recorded in its prime, but it doesn’t qualify as a throwback to the sound of a bygone era in the history of alternative music in the slightest. At no point in this tracklist do North of Tomorrow attempt to recycle something that we’ve already heard before; they’ve got their truth to lay out on the table before us here, and their humble, endearing poeticisms verify their authenticity as a group of musicians in pursuit of a singular undertaking. 

If you haven’t already heard of their work, North of Tomorrow’s Something Unexpected is an even more important acquisition this month. All at once it embodies both the spirit of traditional indie rock and progressive-minded pop songwriting that is, in a word, opulent – and that’s putting it very mildly. Aside from a couple of minor hits out of similar scenes, I think that it represents the future of alternative irony better than any other record released in the last twelve months has. 

 Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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