matinée 076 / October 2010
- Life Returns To Normal
- Some People
Elegant first vinyl release from popular Danish quartet Northern Portrait!
Lead track ‘Life Returns To Normal’ originally featured on the band’s smash debut album ‘Criminal Art Lovers’ earlier this year and is presented here in a newly remastered version perfect for spinning at 45 rpm. The lush guitar track about Volvo Estate cars is arguably one of the band’s finest moments to date and practically begs for repeat plays.
Exclusive b-side ‘Some People’ is a cover version of a song made popular by Sir Cliff Richard back in 1987. The Northern Portrait interpretation strips the original of its excess 1980’s gloss and reveals a modern and unique take on an unexpected pop song. You’ll be singing it for days!
The single is limited to 1000 hand-numbered copies pressed on stylish ultra clear vinyl and comes with a free MP3 download code. Single of the week indeed!
Those tuned to the indie-pop world will be well aware of Northern Portrait and their, well, smashing debut Criminal Art Lovers of this year. With their chiming guitars and often maudlin lyrics these Danes can easily be written off as nothing more than Smiths revivalists. However, give them the time they deserve and you’ll soon find that their masterful execution of perfectly formed pop nuggets is what sets them aside from so many others who’ve turned to Marr and Morrissey for inspiration. Life Returns To Normal? It’s about Volvo estate cars. Really. --Culture Deluxe
Light relief amongst the darkness comes my way today via the new Northern Portrait seven inch, as ever, on Matinée Records. Ironically, it's called 'Life Returns to Normal', which is probably pretty apt, but doesn't feel it right now. Fear not, dear listener, for Nothern Portrait are here to swoon away you deepest woes. They might not be able to give you a secure job to pay the rent and the bills, but they can give us a song so lush, dreamy and life-affirming that it makes your author forget that he was mere yards from Cameron and Clegg today, and couldn't do a fucking thing about picking them up and chucking them in the Trent. It's the least they deserve. The most you deserve, is another wonderful Northern Portrait song. And you've got it in spades. 'Life Returns to Normal' soars, it swoops, it tugs at your heartstrings. It's a love song about those people who are always there for you. If you're lucky enough to have those people, you're get this straight away. If you're not, take solace in a pretty perfect pop song and call it your best friend. --A Layer of Chips
The new Northern Portrait single is a delight indeed, featuring lead cut ‘Life Returns To Normal’ from their Criminal Art Lovers set and a peachy cover of Sir Clifford Richard’s 1987 hit ‘Some People’. Now, as fabulous as ‘Life Returns...’ is, it is the Cliff tune that has had me enthralled the past few days. And why not? It’s a terrific song, and as these things are want to do, it makes one wonder just what other treasures are out there, cloaked in the unfashionable threads of the past. Anyway, you can get your hands on the tunes courtesy of those very nice people at Matinée Recordings. You can snag them on iTunes etc as well as on one of those lovely clear vinyl 7” single thingies. Be quick if you want the vinyl though as there are a mere 1000 individually numbered copies (which naturally come complete with a download code for the mp3s). --Unpopular
Northern Portrait are the indiepop equivalent of Marmite. You either love or hate them. Their haters, who claim they are nothing more than a Smiths rip-off, are not going to be converted by Life Returns To Normal complete with it’s Marr-eque guitars and Stefan’s almost Mozza like crooning which is guaranteed to get them chomping at the bit. Personally I LOVE Marmite and I couldn’t give a flying one if Northern Portrait remade the Queen Is Dead because they are a rather good band who have some fine lyrics and stories to tell. As their excellent début long player Criminal Art Lovers suggested there is more to them than what their detractors claim and they prove that once again with their reworking of Cliff Richard’s somewhat tepid 1987 hit Some People which they originally recorded for the 1980′s Rewind project. It’s cleverly done and breathes some life into this old dog of a tune. And as for those detractors? Well there is always Vegemite y’know. --Indie-mp3.co.uk
Northern Portrait is back with a new single on Matinée Recordings, “Life Returns To Normal” with a cover of Cliff Richard‘s “Some People” on the b-side. The lead track is one of my favourites from their debut album, with those lovely, bubbling guitars underneath Stefan’s rich and powerful vocals. The lyrics are also outstanding, as usual, and the chorus gives me the wonderful warm feeling inside that only GREAT songs can. Their cover of “Some People” is maybe the most interesting on the single for most listeners. I guess most people who buy this one already own the band’s debut-album, so the lead track is already in their music archives. “Some People” is definitively worth buying the single for on its own. It’s one of those covers who manage to show you the great songwriting that lies behind a dull original recording. It sounds far from the glossy 80s version of Cliff Richard, and the band has managed to make it their own. It sounds like Northern Portrait, not Cliff Richard. Their label-mates Cats on Fire did the same thing with White Town’s “Your Woman” earlier this year, on their brilliant “Dealing in Antiques”-album. The single is limited to 1000 hand-numbered copies pressed on clear vinyl and comes with a free MP3 download code. You can order it now from the Matinée shop. --Eardrums
We talked about how much we loved Danish band Northern Portrait just after the release of their latest full-length, Criminal Art Lovers. The group is back now with an amazing new 7″, which features album track “Life Returns to Normal” and B-Side “Some People.” Sure, there’s a bit of a Morrissey sound in the lead single, but you’ll find that the vocal delivery is actually more fulfilling. I know, bold statement, but you’ll have to see for yourself. The swirling jangle of the guitars on “Some People” creates an effecting mood, sure to be loved by all modern pop fans. You can get your hands on the new 7″ by heading over to the Matinée order page. --Austin Town Hall
'Life Returns to Normal' is airy in sound, fresh as the morning air and a song that the Smiths would be proud of. --Pennyblack Magazine
The word on the street on this Danish band is that they love The Smiths and sound quite a bit like them - and you know what? It's all true, but who cares; the songs are superb! The a-side is from their excellent debut record, Criminal Art Lovers, while the flip, a Cliff Richard cover, might be even better with a groovier beat and vocalist Stefan Larsen stretching his pipes out a bit more. Not sold yet? How about the perfect clear vinyl? --Blurt Magazine
I was rather spoilt for choice when it came to selecting a Northern Portrait song. With guitars as sparkling as January icicles, their ‘Criminal Art Lovers’ set was certainly one of the early season highlights and any one of its ten tracks would have settled in here nicely. Certainly the shimmering ‘Life Returns To Normal’ would have been an ideal choice, yet it is that single’s flip side that gets the nod. ‘Some People’, being an old Cliff Richard tune, would have been a favourite for any festive seasonal list even if it had not sounded so spectacular in this guise. After all, what is any vaguely Christmas themed musical list without reference to Sir Clifford of Richards? I know there will be sceptics. I know there will be those covering their ears at the very mention of Cliff, or indeed at the thought of a guitar driven Pop that chimes in a way that for many recalls the high points of Those Myths. If you wanted reference points, however, I would urge you to look beyond David Cameron’s favourites and instead cast an eye on Stars of Heaven (it’s the crystal clear beauty of their ‘Sacred Heart Hotel’ set that I think Northern Portrait evoke) and, yes, I will say it again, The Faith Brothers. Really though those kinds of sage nods and names dropped are just ways for boring old fools like me to establish the fact that we know something of a Pop history. What really matters the most is that Northern Portrait are a group way ahead of almost all of their contemporaries. What matters is that their songs puncture the soul and plant seeds of love and devotion. Who knew Denmark could sound so glorious? --Unpopular