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Album review: 'The Great Mundane'


Alex Northrup

"The Great Mundane"

Proof That the Seacow Exists! Records

Though songwriter Alex Northrup released "The Great Mundane" back in 2017, it hasn't seen much light-of-day until now, with the emergence of the Jon Lewis Band keyboardist as frontman of the newly formed band Alex Northrup and The Backup.

There is an earnest sweetness to "The Great Mundane" that's immediately endearing, but it's the brilliant musicianship and nuanced songcraft that keeps you listening. The music feels steeped in rock history, both recent and decades in the past, and also dabbles in folk. While Northrup's "everyman" voice and melodic sensibility make him sound a bit like Jeff Tweedy's twin, the conversational approach to rhythm and vocal phrasing recalls Lou Reed. The album drips with adoration for the classic rock 'n' roll sound, particularly when it comes to Northrup's rich palette of vintage keyboard sounds – from the warm Hammond and Mellotron vibes replicated on a Nord Electro to the funky versatility of Hohner's Symphonic organ and Pianet T electric piano.

The lo-fi album has the warmth and decay of classic late '60s/early '70s recordings; you can almost hear the crackle-and-hiss of vinyl. Standout tracks "April Fools" and "Lose Myself" are like sonic time machines. Yet for all the throwback vibes, the music doesn't get weighed down by nostalgia. Even when wistfully recalling the past, Northrup looks ahead to the possibilities of being in the moment. "The Great Mundane" is the kind of album you find yourself automatically popping into the player, and the repeat listens only add to the allure.