- SPIN Rating: of 10
Having survived guitar bands both forgettable (Whirlpool) and regrettable (30 Seconds to Mars), Los Angelenos Rachel Stolte and Solon Bixler started over with intimate, piano-led dream-pop duets on their 2007 debut as Great Northern. But for the follow-up, they revert to big, heroic guitars -- should-be single "Houses" even recalls not-too-shabby U2. Unfortunately, the newfound confidence doesn't extend to lyrics rife with nonspecific, mixed-metaphorical angst ("It's the weight of the world we run to") that smacks of the overwrought youth demo they've otherwise outgrown.
Listen: Great Northern, "Houses" (DOWNLOAD MP3)