Review by: Gimpleg
Northaven’s Acoustic Folk Punk album, Post Pandemic Blues excellently captures feelings of loss, loneliness, and isolation in ways many artists simply can’t. The single acoustic guitar and vocals present through most of the album only intensify these themes and Ian Garland’s solo project is played, mixed, and produced by himself.
The album’s title track, “Post Pandemic Blues”, is among my favorite on the album, layers acoustic guitars, while Garland’s vocals deliver a heartfelt message of being beaten down and worn out trying to make it through another day against an unending and unrelenting struggle of life.
My favorite part of this album is a four track segment from “Happy Place” through “Interlude”, and ending with “Never in the Wrong” into “Empty Cans”. “Happy Place” feels a little more upbeat and nostalgic and the tempo is a little more uplifting. For a moment you feel the joy of warm memories before the lyrics “this won’t be forever, one day we’re both gonna die” and the familiar themes return with a rush. Interlude is a sampled Interlude from Unprepared Casters played over an acoustic guitar rhythm that reminds us of the inevitability of tomorrow. This is actually really beautifully done, and then comes crashing to an end with the start of “Never in the Wrong”- by far the angriest and most aggressive song on the album. This song sticks out immediately with the aggressive strumming, some of the most angry vocals on the album, and Ian makes excellent use of cut rhythm and muted notes to deliver punches. While this expert use of style shows off Ian’s ability to use limited tools to highlight his message, Empty Cans adds a layer of electric guitar over the acoustic, and by waiting this deep into the album to unload the electric, it hits like a brick to the face. When he delivers the line “It’s 90 degree how could you be so frigid” it has a power that is unmatched on the album.
If you are a fan of Folk Punk and music about loss, abandonment, and loneliness, you must check out Northaven’s Post Pandemic Blues