Homebrew | MUSIC: Homebrew | Indy Week

North Elementary doesn't fit easily into any of the typical rock cubbyholes, so let's call them indie and leave it at that. Their swervy, dizzy sound is built off a rock/pop base but wobbles like a weeble, falling at times into a shimmering crawl that recalls slo-core, as on meandering tracks like "Teenage Wife" or "Heartbreakin' in Machine." Elsewhere, they wrangle a chunky, energetic rock pace, as on "Into You" and "Lazy Daisy." But whichever way they lean, the album's characterized by a certain ramshackle sonic quality that feels like pieces of the North Elementary vehicle are flapping in the wind and liable to fly off at any moment--that is, if they haven't already. This is a charming quality but can be a detriment. While the sonic drama of their shuddering pop-rock has an enticing, death-defying appeal, it also feels a bit like the sextet's still fumbling with the map and the directions. While nothing sounds bad or underworked, there's nothing exceptionally memorable either. A decent album, but maybe a tad undercooked.

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