Watch out for Lancaster power group

photo: harvey pearson


Lancashire sextet Northling are made up of vocalist and keys player Joe Spencer, guitarist and trumpeter Mike Mackenzie, drummer John Dopping, bassist Ally Brown, vocalist Charlotte Rumley and synthesist George Slack. Quite a spread. And it shows in their music, with compositions whittled down democratically – even with regard to lyrics, impressively. “There’s this progressive nature to a lot of the music we write,” says Spencer. “It never really looks back – it’s always moving forward and ending in a different place to where it began.”

Why Northling?

Northling’s sound may tug on the post-classical stylings of Hidden Orchestra and Hannah Peel with not a little emotional heft, but they’re offset by a lush blend of electronica, jazz and pop that you’re more likely to link to acts like Bristol’s Ishmael Ensemble or The Cinematic Orchestra. The band draw inspiration from the ever-changing landscapes of Lancashire, encompassing its coastlines, lakes and fells, where shifting seasons can unfold within a single hour. It makes perfect sense. Northling’s music is like hearing morphing waves of sound, transitioning from melancholic to euphoric with real skill.

Tell Us More…

Their new EP, ‘Hallowed Ground’, is the product of a series of live writing sessions conducted in Northling’s studio. It sees the band leaning into more ambitious, cinematic soundscapes. The closing track, ‘Bones’, is a haunting, sampled meditation on the words, “It’s very beautiful”, which dovetails magnificently with vocal harmonies and heavily compressed piano, all underpinned by some very deft drum work from John Dopping. As Charlotte Rumley aptly sings on ‘Wild’, “Into the wild we go…”.

‘Hallowed Ground’ is out on Reflections

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