House Above the Sun – Five Hours North

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

The first single and album opener on Five Hours North, the blues-based “Runaway Devil”, immediately demonstrates this band’s Americana credentials, despite the intro’s apparent Eastern influenced guitar riff.  With Jim and Ariel Moreton at the helm, the London-based outfit stretch their own distinctive sound on this, the band’s debut full-length album and follow up to their self-titled debut EP of 2015.  The ten convincingly stylish songs draw on the combination of Jim’s guitar and voice, the undoubted driving force behind “House Above the Sun”, along with the sparsest, almost tentative harmony accompaniment of Ariel, which seems to fit perfectly the mood of the songs.  The smooth West Coast groove on such as “Eagles Dare” balances measure for measure with some of the more blues-based material, notably “St Augustine’s Blues”, the opening bars of which could easily have been lifted from the Woodstock soundtrack.  Putting aside the prominent electric guitar momentarily, we are treated to “Footsteps”, a fairly stripped-down acoustic performance with just a smattering of electric frills, which gives us a glimpse of the Moreton duo’s intimacy.  Not just a great debut, but a truly great album.