The North - 'Illusions'

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The North - 'Illusions'

The best bits tend to sound like Pink Floyd and the bits that don't are relatively bland.

The North are a Danish band consisting of seasoned campaigners Peter Brander and Kim Skovbye and they play "Symphonic Rock with a Celtic touch" (and a harp). Their eponymous debut album, released way back in 1999, sold 20,000 copies. They have also been described as "Denmark's Pink Floyd" but despite the promising start, it's clearly not been plain sailing. Brander and Skovbye have soldiered on, overcoming the loss of their recording contract and the loss of original member Klaus Sch√łnning en route to the writing, recording and release of the new album 'Illusions'. They have also developed impressive solo careers, with Brander recording more than a thousand albums in his Music Sound Studio for the likes of Walter Trout, John Mayall, Mike Tramp and White Lion, and Skovbye releasing three Tolkien-related albums that have been "officially approved by the Tolkien family".



You have to admire Brander and Skovbye's tenacity and commitment to the cause. The question is whether this is matched by the results? Well, what can I tell you? 'Oceans', is a cool and atmospheric opener, it's an instrumental that is initially very laid back with pleasant sprinkles of harp; then at 6:40 the whole thing erupts via a Gilmour-esque solo that takes the roof off. 'You' is less impressive, a bit Beatles-like vocally but still with Floydian overtones, 'Carry Me' opens with some nice harp and blends male and female vocals and the title track is a weightier affair and another atmospheric instrumental. 'The Circle Part 2' is an uplifting instrumental that features bagpipes.

But before you've reached the end of the first play, you already feel like you've got the measure of this album. 'Illusions' is not bad by any stretch but, bagpipes and harp aside, the best bits tend to sound like Pink Floyd and the bits that don't are relatively bland. Gentle and Folky album closer 'Listen' is a possible exception, and at least ensures that you come away smiling.

Michael Anthony

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