Northside’s Sweet Revenge | O True Apothecary (s/r)

cd_northsides.jpgOn this five-track EP, Northside’s Sweet Revenge is discovering its strengths and abilities.







It’s always a trip to hear a band composed of multiple songwriters; you never know what to expect from one track to the next. So when I put in Northside’s Sweet Revenge’s O True Apothecary, which I downloaded free from their website, I heard quite a different band that I expected after hearing Sam Wade’s M. Doughty-style solo set at Cicero’s. This may or may not be attributed fellow songwriter Jimmy Britton.

Regardless, what I got was a pleasant surprise, very aggressive post-punk on the lead track "Heaven (In Your Beautiful Face)." "Do It Again" was a curveball, in a very new wave/disco punk way. For a local band, there’s a lot of CBGB’s in Northside’s Sweet Revenge. So when the straight-up retro power-pop song "Baby Please" kicked in, somewhere between Elvis Costello and Marvelous 3, my two-songwriter theory was kicking around in my head.

On this five-track EP, Northside’s Sweet Revenge is discovering its strengths and abilities, with the common thread being what would have been college rock through the ’80s and ’90s. "Caught Up in Sound" takes it a step further, being a pure pop-rock tune, hand claps and all, á la Gin Blossoms or Better than Ezra. All the aggression and tension dissipated in "Heaven"; everything I liked about the first song was gone, save the musicianship that held it together. When "Everyday," the final track, kicks in, with that all-too-familiar and enjoyable Weezer-ish alternative crunch, it becomes a very catchy, mid-tempo pop-rock tune perfect for radio, for twentysomethings and people who wish they were twentysomething.

O True Apothecary is like listening to Heatmiser’s first few releases. By Mic City Sons, Elliott Smith had found his voice in the band, so much so that Neil Gust had started singing like him, and the music had gone from Fugazi sounding to Beatlesesque. O True Apothecary is like a Microcosm of that evolution. Each song is well performed for what it is, but each would seem to appeal to different segments of the same age group: a little for the angsty, a little for the romantics, a little for the quirky, and so on. So, with all the talent, influences, and potential, how are they going to put it all together? We’ll just have to see. Sam Wade’s birthday bash July 18 at Rockstar might be a good place to start. | Willie E. Smith

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