South Chicago-based four-piece, Detour North, have just released their seven-song “It’s History, It’s Poetry” album. The newest album follows the bands’ releases of 2012s “From Your Basement Speakers” and 2015’s “Poster Child for a Wasted Youth” and contains a hefty amount of the Alternative Rock/Emo/Pop-Punk vibes that evoke a sense of familiarity for fans of the likes of All Time Low and Zebrahead.
The new album starts with DEAD, perhaps the most Pop-Punk song on the album. Originally being released as a single in 2017, DEAD is an upbeat, punchy track that, in typical Emo/Pop-Punk fashion, has a myriad of dark lyrics that help to illustrate a narrative of somebody struggling with the pressures of day to day life and depression.
Blackmail, the second track of the album, bursts to life with a barrage of drums and guitar triads, creating a wall of sound that opens the song. As far as the ‘feel’ of the song is concerned, Blackmail fits thematically with the vibe of DEAD, remaining surprisingly upbeat while also maintaining the romanticized dark undertones of the first track.
Starting with a series of harmonized guitar and vocal melodies before leading into a series of minimalistic verses and powerhouse choruses, July maintains the thematic feel that has been strongly established and reinforced over the past couple of tracks, with DEAD and Blackmail feeling and sounding somewhat similar. July, similarly to DEAD and Blackmail, is a repetition of the tried-and-true method of writing Pop-Punk/Emo songs that has been used by a plethora of other pre-established artists within the genre, using up-beat and punchy chord structures and melodies to contrast against the lyrical content of the track. While there is nothing inherently bad about this method of songwriting (with the three tracks this far into the album being solidly written, recorded and masterfully mixed), it does leave something to be desired.
Just over halfway into the album, Autumn Bloom offers the first notable point of contrast the album has had, with clean, arpeggiated guitar chords initiating a song that follows the perspective of a heart-broken and confused lover trying to come to terms with his feelings for a girl. Autumn Bloom goes as far as having a violin layered over the latter half of the song if it weren’t already clearly different enough from the other tracks on the album.
The album’s title track, It’s History, It’s Poetry, starts with very lightly distorted, layered guitars, giving the impression that it may be somewhat in-line with Autumn Bloom, before the familiar sound of the distorted guitar, thundering drums, and eventual vocal wailing firmly set this song in place with the rest of the album. It’s History, It’s Poetry makes it clear that Detour North understand that occasionally less is more, with portions of the song (notably the verses and pre-choruses) being thinly layered and effectively impactful. Sonically, It’s History, It’s Poetry is the best the album has to offer, with the quality of the recording and mix being especially impressive for an unsigned band.
You Look Like Hell, the penultimate song of the album, is also definitively the biggest outlier of the album, being entirely comprised of an acoustic guitar and vocals, with no absolutely no sign of distortion, bass guitar or a drum set in the mix. Though being somewhat similar thematically to Autumn Bloom (as You Look Like Hell is also from the perspective of a heart-broken and confused lover trying to come to terms with his feelings), the lyrics and vocal melody for You Look Like Hell resonate far stronger than with Autumn Bloom. This may be due to the fact that Autumn Bloom was initially released as a single in 2017 and You Look Like Hell was released for the album, in which case it positively reflects Detour North’s growth as songwriters.
Closing “It’s History, It’s Poetry” is You’re a Saint/I’m a Nonbeliever. The final song of the album concludes the album the way in which It started, returning to the tried-and-true songwriting method used for the first three tracks, though admittedly feeling more refined due to the implementation of more complex vocal and guitar melodies being utilised than in the other tracks. The guitar solo on You’re a Saint/I’m a Nonbeliever is also the only solo that stands out, building upon and reaffirming the melody of the song before eventually leading into the chorus that sees out the remainder of the song.
Detour North’s “It’s History, It’s Poetry” is an enjoyable, though somewhat stereotypical, venture into the realm of 2000’s Pop-Punk territory. The song-writing was solid and the production quality for a band without label support was exceptional, making for an overall decent album.
Stream or purchase “It’s History, It’s Poetry” HERE now!