Northern Portrait: Ta! (Matinee Recordings)

northern portrait

Danish band Northern Portrait has thrilled all those who have heard them; their sound, a satisfying blend of indie-pop, has garnered them critical acclaim not only in their home country but also the rest of the world. Ta! is a collection of the band’s singles and compilation tracks, and it really speaks well of the band that this album is as strong as their full-lengths proper. Though their albums are great, it’s quite obvious that they are, at heart, a singles band. The format works well for them; it allows each song to stand on its own merit, rather than be surrounded by tracks that might not have received equal attention in the studio.

And oh, there’s plenty to fall in love with here. They deftly mix up the 1980s British indie-pop style defined and created by The Field Mice and The Smiths with a sound that recalls later acts The Ocean Blue, Voxtrot, and The Lucksmiths. Their lyrics are deeply personal, without being twee or too indulgent. Sure, there’s a level of self-pity to be found in songs “Waiting For A Chance” and “Sporting My Scars,” but the songs never become overwrought. My personal favorite is “I Give You Two Seconds To Entertain Me,” with its upbeat tempo and lead singer Stefan Larsen‘s varying  and wide vocal range, one that bears fair comparison to JamesTim Booth. Let’s not forget the jangling guitar, either–the song is all-around flat out perfect ear-candy of the finest measure. Listening to Ta!, you quickly understand why their singles quickly sell out.

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