Following their 2019 acoustic single “Time,” Black North is putting some more skin in the game with the two-track EP The Lost Year: Volume 1. The eastern Connecticut trio (featuring Bill Bates on guitar and vocals, Stephanie Lussier on bass and vocals, and John Tolmie handling drums) has been a staple at local shows since their 2018 formation, both on stage and in the audience — even in this “Lost Year” where the usual scene has hung on by a Dwayne Eldredge, er, thread.
But Black North used their lost year well, playing out when they’ve been able to and getting these tracks done. Recorded and mixed at Studio Wormwood with engineer Dave Kaminsky and mastered by Ryan Williams at Augmented Audio, Black North is showing off their best work. The two songs are mantra-like in vocals and guitar riffage, with “Muskrat” a 90s grunge homage and “Valley of the Horse” focusing on the band’s noisy punk side.
Lussier’s vocals are a highlight of The Lost Year — reminiscent of the crystalline, introspective tones listeners will recognize from her project Victim or Victor, but also getting a little nastier (in a good way) during the choruses of “Valley.” That is Steph, right? Right?? She and Bates also make some ear-catching moves with back-and-forth sections and harmonies. Tolmie’s characteristic drumming prepares the contrasting canvases for each song, while Bates’ guitar leads and a noise-rock-y solo section in “Muskrat” add color to the riffs.
Black North’s November 15th CD release party at Altones sold out a month ago, but you can use your smart internet fingers to get a copy of The Lost Year: Volume 1 in CD and digital formats beginning on November 16th. Visit Black North on bandcamp and Facebook for all the deets!
Band photo by Kate Tolmie. Layout by Bill Bates. Review copy courtesy of the band, all opinions are our own.