The Northstar Session – New Prehistoric Times

North Star Session - New Prehistoric Times

North Star Session - New Prehistoric Times

Starting back in 2002 as a solo project for lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Matt Szlachetka, The Northstar Session has rounded out the group to become a tight, rockin’ quartet based out of Los Angeles, California.  The foursome blends a vintage style of rock with pop, alt country, and hints of blues on this self-released album for a sound that can easily find a nice home on your record shelf right next to Wilco and Ryan Adams.     

The guys don’t waste time trying to grab your attention.  They launch right into “Straight To You” with a catchy guitar groove that goes well with Szlachetka’s soft and dusty vocals.  The harmonies call out for a road trip with warm wind blowing on your face.  “Lovely Life” follows with pure, uplifting pop happiness.  The catchy music and sun-drenched harmonies beg to be on the big screen.  I imagine a summertime flick with the California sun beating down on a sandy boardwalk and perhaps a video montage of silliness on the beach between a couple.

The Northstar Session is able to seamlessly move from pop rock to honest and personal songs with infusions of Americana and alt country.  “All At Once” sings of regrets in ignoring the heart amidst twangy guitar while “Hard To Be Found” is a ballad that will pull at your heart strings with lightly strummed acoustic guitar lifting up the sweetly blended harmonies saying,“so you can break down these walls and move on.”

While the album is primarily guitar based, there are also moments of piano accompaniment to switch it up a bit. “Been Here Before” features nice piano accompaniment while “Morris” goes all out for a jumpy piano ditty with a hormonica interlude.  “All Roads” sounds like a song fit for a bar stage (or in a bar movie) with upbeat piano and guitar riffs.  Other songs on the album blend multiple influences and just full on rock like “Easier” with it’s retro groove, rockin’ electric guitar solo and harmonies that will have you singing along before you even reach the end.

It is difficult to classify The Northstar Session under one genre but throughout the 11 tracks there is a certain charisma that oozes from the songwriting and arrangments which holds it all together to keep the album from seeming like it’s just doing a bunch of genre jumping. If I have to make a complaint I would say that there are moments within the album that cross the border of radio-friendly pop and dip into a category more fit for teenage television dramas.  But this is a minor point considering the strength of the majority of the songs on the album.

Packed full of timeless tunes from straight up rock and toe-tappin’ grooves with radio-friendly hooks to intimate ballads with intelligent songwriting, New Prehistoric Times is an album that can span generations and still sound good for years to come.

The Northstar Session