– featured image courtesy of landon speers –
new jersey’s joseph black has spent the last decade or so at the helm of projects like honeydrum and donovan blanc, the latter perhaps a bit more buttoned-up than the former but both serving the songwriter’s development well in their respective ways. black recently turned his attention to writing and recording a solo album under his own name, northern exposure, which is set to drop tomorrow.
the ten tracks that line the album’s outer shell drip with the hallmarks of 1980s music; elements of coming-of-age film soundtracks blend with college rock homages and mingle with stadium-caliber spectacle, although northern exposure feels not like pastiche but intense veneration, a full immersion into a decade that evokes a particularly warm variant of nostalgia.
lead singles “be still the light” and “what if it’s all wrong?” are solid points of entry into black’s world, one where the gated reverb crisply evaporates off of each snare pop and brassy synth leads glide in tandem with distant guitar riffs and metallic bass lines. drill down deeper, though, and you’ll discover the slow tremolo haze of “october blue” and the cinematic grandeur of “hopeless night,” just two of the eight other songs that tie northern exposure into the kaleidoscopic body of work that it is.
black’s first solo venture is reflective and triumphant, a true joy to peel apart and digest slowly, one layer at a time. northern exposure is out tomorrow via the wonderful folks at chill mega chill records. it’s premiering in full right here on the dimestore, below. enjoy.