Lost North Star – Shadows of a Lucent Memory

Lost North Star
Shadows of a Lucent Memory

Lost North Star’s debut EP, Shadows of a Lucent Memory,is typical of almost everything in the emo genre from recent years. Gone are the days when bands like Endpoint, Metroshifter, Guilt, and Shelter seemed to be taking the genre to new and interesting places with every record. Granted, all of those bands have either disbanded or changed philosophies, but at least they were trying. Now it seems that if everything isn’t overproduced, clean, and poppy then it isn’t up to snuff. If those standards were to define the genre then this record would meet the requirements in all the categories. With the exception of the solid singing, the songs bring nothing new to the table. While a couple of the numbers show potential, the record is mostly unoriginal and leaves one looking for much more.
“Fade Away Broken” opens the record pretty solidly with a tight combination of male/female vocals over clean, yet crunchy guitars. This track is one of the more energetic on the record, but it sounds like a feel-good emo standard that’s been done before. “This Moment Forever” has a poppy emo feel, much like the Get Up Kids or one of their many imitators. Nothing too fresh or exciting about this number. “Time to See” is pretty standard emo pop, featuring jangly guitar picking and multi vocal melody that eventually builds up to a distorted chorus and then reverts back to the same old thing all over again. Sadly, this song is another example of how typical the record is.
“End of November” is a somber-sounding tune where the vocals again take center stage. Things get pretty intense and interesting towards the end of the song with a mix of shouted vocals and singing over the top. That was a nice touch. “The Day it Died” surprisingly hits the listener over the head with old-school hardcore guitar riffs that come out of nowhere. When the sung vocals kick in, it all makes sense though, as the overall tone is similar to the rest of their material, just a bit faster. Still, throwing an ’88 style hardcore beat on a record of predominantly poppy emo was a neat move. “Regret Me Not” ends the EP and sums the whole record up as well – well played, but done before.
The main problem with this record is that the band seems to be trying too hard to sound like the groups that they are into. This is one of the big dilemmas in independent music right now. It seems that whenever there is a group that comes out with an interesting and unique sound there are a million copycats that jump along for the ride. On the other hand, this is the first effort for Lost North Star, and they have at least proven that as a band they can play tight and with emotion. Maybe this EP was just a way to get their name out there and then in the future work on coming up with a more original sound. Only the band can say for sure.
The sharing of vocal duties between Nicole Verhamme and Freddie Hashi is one of the bright spots on the record. While the music sounds unoriginal and typical at times, the voices of the two singers shine through and cut right to the core of the songs. While they are not Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, their voices do sound very good together and could be the core for something special in the future.
If nothing else, Lost North Star is a band that is full of energy and emotion. At times the record gives the listener the feeling that the band is about to break out from their standard emo riffs towards something special. They don’t quite make it. The band just does not bring much new to the table in terms of originality or experimentation. What they do bring is tight knit singing over the top of a solid background of typical emo.
This EP is a decent first effort. Here’s to hoping they can branch out a bit more and give the listener a taste of their own voice on their next try.