Five Hours North is the debut full length album from London-based band House Above The Sun, following their self-titled EP in 2015. Their music is striking and near impossible to pigeonhole. This is a blend of Americana, Classic Rock, Country, Blues and Roots, and that's just the more obvious influences. The result is The Foo Fighters crossed with Band Of Skulls crossed with The Kinks, and it is every bit as glorious as that sounds.
Runaway Devil provides a great start to the record, with a wonderful guitar riff straight out of the Deep South. It's a catchy foot-tapper of a tune, with bluesy lyrics, and a slight 70s feel to it. Eagles Dare has a touch of the Foo Fighters about it, somewhat of a change of pace to a slower and more delicate sound. There's a lot of variety on display across the LP, notably with Footsteps near the end, which is a pared back song with more of an acoustic quality. It's a beautiful track.
The highlight of the album is probably the longest song, the sprawling Tonopah, which recalls a road trip through the Nevada desert. It's a wonderful slice of Americana, with an instrumental interlude that is played perfectly, and builds the track to a fantastic climax. While Tonopah stands out, the album is packed with great tunes. No Virtue is a whisky soaked rock track driven along by the drums; Ask Me To Pretend is heavy on the guitars with an excellent chorus and an epic feel.
For a debut (full length) album, this is impressively professional and polished. Retro in places, yet also unmistakably modern, House Above The Sun have taken their myriad influences and turned them into something special. There has been a definite surge in popularity of this retro-tinged bluesy rock in recent years, and this album is up there with the best of them. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this band.
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