Erode & Disappear
In this era of cookie cutter punk rock bands and homogenized indie rock it's quite refreshing to come across the marginal oddballs known as Northern Liberties. A band like this convinces me that rock can still be as urgent and raw as it ever was and not just doomed to zombie posturing. Indeed, with a passion you'd be hard pressed to find in a lot of bands today, Northern Liberties conveys that rock is alive and well thank you. The music is primarily Kebin Unlord's driving and melodic bass guitar with Marc Duerr's dynamic drumming. Alongside is Justin Duerr's forlorn and echoing vocals as well as his fortifying percussion. So, it seems Joe Strummer's proclamation of 'No more guitar heroes' is taken literally. But by the end of the first tune, it's not even an issue. I had a chance to catch one of their shows in the summer of 2002 at the Catbox in West Philly. It was hot as hell but they gave one of most animated and captivating performances I've ever seen from a band (and I've seen scores over the years and all across the states). I imagined myself witnessing a ritual as performed by three primitives from the future. Half naked and wholly tattooed they wielded their instruments with wild abandon and conviction, but balanced with a magical grace and deliberate control. The songs with lyrics that seemed to be ruminations on occult matters probably helped this perspective. However, this is not to say that these guys are gravely serious and one dimensional. A listen to the lyrics of their 'Devil -Song' will betray that they also have a sense of humor. At times the music can be quite ferocious but then again there's brain with the brawn. No doubt, they aren't aiming to be radio friendly, but hell if their 'Erode and Disappear' CD doesn't have some damn catchy tunes too. For example, unsettling as it may be, I've caught myself singing one of them aloud, 'I'm a creep - a creep in the concourse following you and your girlfriend.' However, it's 'Bio-Vac.' that's among my favorite tracks from this debut CD on the Worldeater Records label. Justin's lyrics here are more challenging than those of the songs previously mentioned, but with the groove of the tune as guided by Kebin and Marc, the song gets steered to seep in and reward you with a glimpse into what seems to be just one of the fantastic and dystopic worlds that Justin is exploring as well as the ones we dwell in. That's why No Li are so refreshing. Not only can they rock, but they are just as adventurous with their lyrics as they are with their music. So get refreshed yourself, and let Northern Liberties 'communicate with the voices in your head!' as reviewed by - Tom aka Vosco- from 'Agent A','Adam Strange' and 'Ruin'