Saturday, October 24, 2015

Album Review: ‘Hope Is Made Of Steel’ by Northcote

Title: Hope Is Made Of Steel (Xtra Mile Recordings, Amazon, iTunes)

Northcote's third full-length album, Hope Is Made Of Steel, is a thoughtful, powerful, earnest, heartfelt, and hopeful record. What began as a solo project for Canadian singer-songwriter Matt Goud has grown and evolved into a full fledged band. The result is a sound that is full, dynamic, and robust, breathing new depth into Goud's already superb songwriting. With a sound that is steeped in punk, folk, college rock, Americana, and arena rock, Northcote has always had a penchant for moving anthems (see “Worry” from 2009's Borrowed Chords, Tired Eyes or “Hope the Good Things Never Die” from 2013's self-titled album) and those tendencies have been kicked up many, many notches with songs like “Small Town Dreams,” “Stronger Than You Know,” and the title track. Hope Is Made Of Steel is the kind of record that just punches you in the gut and refused to let go by rousing rock 'n' roll anthems, emotionally griping ballads like “Leaving Wyoming” and “Bracelet,” and everything in-between.

Northcote is one of those artists whose music I put on and immediately feel at home. All of the struggles and pain and joys that come with adulthood are captured perfectly in Goud's songs. Hope Is Made Of Steel is the kind of record that I put on and instantly feel a blanket of calm and solace engulf me, making everything okay. In a lot of ways, Northcote is the Canadian Dave Hause, Chuck Ragan, and Frank Turner, which is fitting because his music induces the same emotional reaction in my heart and soul. This is easily Northcote's best work to date and one of the best records of the year.  

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