Whither the state of the world? Has joy and wonder been forever forgotten to be replaced by the ever present threat of deeper meaning and fat free soya cappuccinos? My philosophical ponderings are often wider than a desert and duly often in need of a soundtrack. The question therefore is whether “The Big North” by Hank Tree is such a soundtrack.
There is no doubt that “The Big North” is a scaled up concept album that swims in a river of steady rolling mellow melancholy on its way to its particular emerald castle and it therefore takes to some time for this album to make an impression. The pace remains leisurely throughout yet there are also extant examples of ragged edges to drift these songs away from stagnant waters even if the laid back harmonies seem designed to be carried forward on the very wind itself.
This is, however, far from a trivial album and it is to the credit of Hank Tree that, despite the lack of waterfalls and whirlpools, that your attentions is not tempted to wander. “The Big North” is indeed a late night listening on headphones kind of album and one that deserves to be absorbed as such with all those ambient captures floating around those low key melodies providing a reinforcement of the time and place in question.
Best song: The mellow artiness that is “Haber-Bosch Process.”
Verdict: Soundtrack for thought.