Nothern Howl- All That’s Under the Night’s Sky

Northern Howl - All That's Under the Night's Sky

It’s Sufjan Stevens for people who think Sufjan is overlong! I mean, one of the biggest knocks on Sufjan, if someone has a beef against him, is that his songs and albums run too long. Nothern Howl give the baroque-folk genre a nice spark to keep enthusiasts of this type of music something to be invested in for a while. Every song is a winner, but opener “Algorithm”, “Madigan”, and “Sleeping Bags” are especially fantastic. But really, any song you pick out from this album has a chance to be a favorite. And for the Sufjan detractors, this album clocks in at under forty minutes.

Everything about Nothern Howl (even their canvas-wrapped album cover) rings of camping in God’s country. The song titles, the folk soundscapes, the lyrics, all have that feel to them. It makes for a pleasant backdrop for these songs, and you get a genuine sense that these guys enjoy a nice camp every so often. Musically, not thematically, is what makes this such a great record. It’s unbelievably catchy with soft melodies and subtle hooks, while the acoustic guitars pick away in their folksy glory. The tipping point for All That’s Under the Night’s Sky are the horns, pianos, and bells that add depth and spirit to an already accomplished sound. To give you an idea of how much, and how surprising this album hit me as a real knock-out, I’ll share this. Once I finish this review, I’m going to leave town for the weekend, hanging out with my friends. Besides hanging out, what I love about the trip is driving alone, playing two full albums on the way there. I had my two albums planned, and was psyched to leave, but then I popped in Northern Howl to start on my review. Midway through it, I knew I had to cancel one of my albums, because I needed to hear this again, by myself, on the open road. So, yes, Northen Howl’s fantastic new album is definitely worth hearing. Over and over and over again.