The Far North conjures up the spirit of Americana in the vein of early Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, “Songs For Gentle Souls” stuns with its timeless classic sound. With great emphasis on the production every single detail feels carefully labored over. Comforting to its very heart the lyrics possess such tremendous detail. Vividly touching upon the fine singer-songwriter tradition of the late 60s and early 70s there is an outpouring of pure yearning, lust, love, and nostalgia. Perfectly sequenced these pieces play off each other making the entire album feel akin to a grandiose trip through a life lived to the absolute fullest.
While the Far North clearly draw from a rich tradition set by Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, they update the sound to give it a contemporary feel. In this way their references would be bands like Wilco in terms of their sheer chamber pop bliss. Like Wilco, they acknowledge what began this sound as they add to it, with classical and rock influences further filtering into the mix. The heartfelt vocals at times recall the sheer emotional weight of the Fleet Foxes, for the Far North has an almost communal quality to their work. By keeping things so sprawling and all-encompassing, they celebrate a togetherness through their rich melodies and their carefully crafted balanced verses.
Right from the beginning they start off with the strong sweeping “Runaway”. Vocals are front and center as the rest of the sound swirls around him in a gorgeous way. A giddy rhythm bounces through on “This House is Ours” featuring a defiant message. Things gently sway on the laid-back beauty of “Branches” by far the highlight of the album. From the graceful slide guitar to his rustic bluesy delivery it all works wonders. Nostalgia reigns supreme on the spirited “When We Were Young”. The buildup of “Compass Pointing” features incredible piano work as it grows and grows. Stripping things down to the essentials is the yearning of “My Heart”.
Colorful keyboards give “Stronger Together” an inviting appeal with the song emphasizing a vulnerability. Graceful strings accompany the soothing scope of “Sleep Tight Songbird” giving it a pastoral feeling. Sprawling and ambitious “Grace” races forward with determination. The lulling guitar work of “1994” lends it an intimacy, as the storytelling has a highly personal kindness to it. Neatly tying the whole album together is the grace of “Gentle Souls”.
“Songs For Gentle Souls” proves the Far North to be impeccable crafters of a symphonic piece of Americana one with stories that linger in the mind long after the pieces have ended.