North Atlantic Oscillation – The Third Day
Hardly original but big on heart and soul, this is sophisticated and intelligent dream pop. With the genre tropes of the late 80s shoegaze scene increasingly up for grabs, North Atlantic Oscillation borrow smartly (pulsing bass, shimmering guitars), though singer Sam Healey's uncommonly high pitch makes them more Lush than Ride. This third album from the Edinburgh trio proffers crisp, clean arrangements and a refreshingly un-cynical worldview.
Sure, at times, it's too shiny and could do with a bit of scuzz, perhaps the odd wig-out. Hard-asses might balk at the tone: all wide-eyed wonder and spaced-out reverie. But still, much of The Third Day does what it does exceptionally well. August is sleek electro-guitar pop and the instrumental Penrose is beautiful. It runs out of steam towards the end (the first half contains the tunes, while the second focuses on atmosphere) but on its own limited terms, it's a winner. [Gary Kaill]