Six years is quite a long time, but it seems like Oliver Philipps spends some of that time gathering inspiration. With North the band releases its seventh studio album, the style is Progressive Rock / Metal and the result is a refreshing breeze of highly versatile and dynamic music.
Hands is a heavy, groovy opener given a really bombastic flavour from thick and well-suited orchestrations. You sense the creativity right away.
A dramatic mood embraces Brief Encounter, a very dynamic track you never really know where is heading. Clever use of a subtle piano and soaring film score imagery play off each other nicely here.
A characteristic of Everon's music is a certain warm and harmonious atmosphere; From Where I Stand is a perfect example of this. A hypnotic cello is intelligently mixed with rough bass lines, expressive soloing, strong vocals and piercing guitar riffs.
The band clearly plays progressive music, but it doesn't seem that obvious at first glance, the songs are averagely around five minutes and the catchy melodies and refrains burn right through. But when you dig deeper you'll find a rather complex web of structures, details and breaks that makes a really huge difference. I guess it's what makes you pop it in the stereo just one more time.
The title track North is a tremendous and intense slice of creativity. The sweeping chorus, supported by symphonic keys is an album highlight. Throw in mellow acoustic guitar passages and frame it with brilliantly expressive drumming and you have a fantastic song on your hands.
South Of London addresses a critical political statement and in that respect it's a pretty dark track, but a great innovative key passage and a overwhelming chorus line marks a lighter side of the composition...this "keeping things in balance" is a key element throughout the album.
A tense and thick atmosphere slowly opens Wasn't It Good before it steers onto a mid-tempo path after a good 2 minutes. Elaborate guitar lead fills keeps the momentum up and again a soulful cello injects life and passion. A thoughtful and challenging track ending a bit abruptly.
Woodworks is the albums instrumental, fittingly suited the flow of the album and with no less than phenomenal piano lines creating a really elevating mood.
Judith Stüber lends her beautiful voice to the track Islanders, a delicate and tender cut presenting vivid pictures of longing and hope. The music is slowly moving along, playful and caressingly setting the scene for her voice to lead the way towards a safe shore.
The final track Running raises some essential questions about how we live our lives, again the dominant orchestrations add interesting layers and the guitar solo speaks with a harmonious tongue.
But the track fails to move into fourth gear and together with Test Of Time, which lacks a more memorable direction, but nevertheless is a firm track, it empathises that not everything works out equally well, it doesn't ruin anything at all; it just put things a bit on hold now and then.
The lyrics have both depth and thought put into them. The album raises questions about choices, consequences and priorities in life, it deals with fragile human connections and somehow the aspect of time is an enduring and interesting element.
The sound is deliciously crisp and crystal clear; it has a cool deep and "up front" impact that hits your senses immediately.
The ingenious use of orchestrations gives the album an ingenious dimension, the instruments have a cool synergy effect going on and most songs are appealingly catchy.