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North Hills - ATO
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Kyle MacKinnel on January 28, 2010



On paper, Dawes is kind of a tough sell. The concept of a 55-minute long player of craggy, slow-tempo Americana sounds like it might be a bit outdated for the impatience of our hyper-information age. On the sonic playing field, North Hills is straightforward, but manages to come across as a refreshing reminder of our roots. What success the record finds can be derived primarily from the strengths of its missionary songwriter, Taylor Goldsmith. Rock solid songwriting and timeless, uplifting vocals prove Dawes’ bread and butter. Sure, there is a lot of faith here, but it exists unburdened by the nagging preoccupations of religion (and would you believe this is an L.A. band?). Some fine moments are achieved on the flighty chorus of the spiritual “When My Time Comes” and the achy remorse of “Bedside Manner,” in which Goldsmith confesses, “I’m greedy as the sea.” “God Rest My Soul” expands: “Just like how I’ll drink myself to my seventh relapse/Like a captain of a sinking ship clutches to his maps.” After all, no story of redemption is complete without its battles, and North Hills notches a victory for the believers.

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