By: Chris Long
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North Atlantic Drift take their name from an ocean current that pushes off the eastern coast of North America and across the vast waters to Europe, bringing with it warm waves and soft winds. That description is an apt analogy for the arrival of the Canadian duo’s Visitor, as it is an album that laps at the ears with the gentle caress of the tide and washes over the synapses with deep swells of emotion.
Depth is the key to the seven songs on offer. On the surface, the pair’s tunes seem almost simplistic, unassuming key changes drifting in somnambulant fashion to a tailing close – but listen, genuinely listen, and beauty and splendour reveal themselves within.
The eight-minute title track, around which the whole album revolves, exemplifies that ideal in vivid fashion. A twisting, slowly spiraling soundscape, it rises and falls, ebbs and flows, blooms and fades around heart-speed beats in a beguiling and bewildering manner.
It is not alone in delivering such expansive drama. ‘4th Of July’ falls in a stately pirouette, like a whale’s progression from the daylight to the ocean’s depths; ‘Meridian’ crawls and sparkles, like the sun seen glittering through the steady march of a glacier; ‘Recluse’ builds and builds, a seed becoming a shoot becoming a bud becoming a flower before suddenly being uprooted, leaving only echoes and shades behind.
There is not an unconsidered moment to be found. Visitor brims with thoughtfulness, with careful crafting and intelligent insight, and with modest understatement. This is not a collection that demands the attention or indeed even asks for it. Instead, it is simply there, like the whisper of a rainbow as the rain clears or the early rise of the moon, to be noticed, meditated upon and loved for its subtlety, its ephermality and its delicious gravitas.