The North Magnetic

Copies of this CD may be obtained (presumably) by writing to My Life as a Hand Grenade, P.O. Box 427, Chico CA 95927.

This four-song CD-EP from local alternative band North Magnetic is pretty good. The CD kicks off with the droney, riffy “Tonight We Ride,” the Keith Moon-style drum-fills staggering along in 6/8 time, a wang-bar guitar boinging in the background. Sticking to a tradition as old as rock ‘n’ roll itself, the lyrics are almost indecipherable, especially as breathily phrased by singers-guitarists Kelly Bauman and Dan Greenfield.

This is followed by the instrumental opening to “Camero,” which eventually transforms itself into a frantic and sort of fragmented ballad, Casey Dietz’ drums flailing away in a compelling stop-start fashion. The vocals here suggest Pink Floyd, just post-Syd when Dave Gilmour was still finding his vocal footing, as it were.

The song "Musashi’s Strategy" establishes a strong rock backbeat groove, bassist Conrad Nystrom spinning a good sonic web against the layered guitar work of Bauman, Greenfield and Trevor Sellers. Closing track "Decided Days" practically approaches pop in its tunefulness and vocal harmonies. However, immediately beneath this veneer are crashing drums and staccato guitar lines. Overall, the band demonstrates a solid command of dynamics. It’ll be interesting to note their continuing evolution.