The cover of Loss Leader’s new album ‘True North’ is eye-catching and perfect. Honestly, it looks like a piece of art I would get tattooed on me. A classic style with smooth lines and bold colors, I instantly started speculating about what the meaning behind the artwork may be and I wondered if it related back to the music at all. Curiosity has gotten the best of me and, although I should be working, cleaning, and doing laundry, I feel like my time is better spent checking out this quick ten-song album from Loss Leader.
“Indivisible” kicks things off with an undeniable sense of energy. Starting with an understated but powerful guitar part, it’s not long before furious drums and shouted vocals come in and shoot this album off in the perfect direction for my morning. I was instantly in love with everything about this opening track (other than the fact that it’s so short). Punchy, in your face, a bit aggressive but not angry, I had never heard of Loss Leader before even though they are a local Minneapolis band but they absolutely had my attention and then some within just the first few bars of this opening track.
The title track, “True North”, is the second track on this album and, like the first, it was absolutely perfect. Lyrics are always up for interpretation and I will never straight up tell you what a song is about because, well, it’s up to you to decide but I got a very heavy and powerful political message from this title track. Beyond my love of the poignant words, this track continued to showcase how much control Loss Leader has in their music while making sure there’s a sense of power and angst that rings through with every note and every word. I know this is only the second track and we still have eight more songs to go but I think it’s safe to say that Loss Leader may be my new favorite local band already.
As soon as “Choke” started playing, I knew it was going to be one of my favorites. A little Arms Aloft, a little Gaslight Anthem, I mean, I could go on for days of the bands that came to mind while this track played but that doesn’t matter. Even with all of the comparisons in the world, I will never be able to find the perfect one to describe Loss Leader’s distinct sound and I feel like you really get a taste of that during “Choke”. I also like how deliberate everything is on this track. Nothing feels rushed or hurried yet there’s an undeniable sense of power and energy still reigning supreme throughout this track. What a seriously flawless song. I may or may not have listened to it a few times before moving on to “Crestfallen”.
“Crestfallen” slows things down ever so slightly beat-wise but, again, the intention of every note and word is evident. I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my favorite track on the album just due to the slower pace of it and my current need for endless energy but I get this track’s place on the album and it led into “Without a Trace” perfectly. The tempo speeds back up for this one as emotionally charged vocals take the spotlight. There are times throughout this track where you can almost hear the vocals breaking down ith the weight of each word and it adds a super touching spark to this song. Maybe it sounds just like shouting to some of you and I understand that but, if you really listen to the vocal tone and the way it changes with each word, you will see a whole other side to this track and Loss Leader as a band.
Although the emotion never falters throughout this album, “Simple” brings a bit more of a lighter, anthemic tone to the album which instantly had me sold and had me bopping along to the infectious beat. Another instant favorite of mine on this album, “Simple” was, well, simple and fun. An easy track to listen to and a song that will really get you going, I highly suggest listening to this one in your car with the volume up and the windows down. I found myself so lost in “Simple” that was I a bit disappointed as the album moved onto “Weight of Shadows” but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with that track either. A little bit of a darker tone comes in on the vocals just showcasing that beautiful emotion that this band does so well. Although one of the longer tracks on the album at just under four minutes long, I found myself lost in a hazy cloud of sound as this track played through. I honestly don’t know how else to explain it. I think I was so busy trying not to miss a thing in this song that I ended up missing it all just because it was so easy to get lost in.
There’s a more straight-up punk vibe in “Bastard Space Dust” that I instantly wish I had heard more of through the previous tracks. A super infectious bassline that instantly reminded me of Rancid just due to tone and fury, although I tend to only list two favorite tracks per album, I would be remiss if I didn’t add this one to the list. There’s a frantic mood about this track but it never bridges into the world of chaos which is such a hard thing to do but something Loss Leader does so dang well.
Do you like Alkaline Trio? If so, then “Best Intentions” is the track for you. There’s just something about the guitar work in this track that instantly reminded me of Alkaline Trio but, as with the other songs, as soon as the vocals came in, the influence I heard shifted to something that, at this point, I can only describe as “Best Intentions”. This track is a great example of the various elements heard throughout the previous songs. You get a little bit of that punk influence heard in “Bastard Space Dust” along with some of that emotional weight heard in “Weight of Shadows”. It’s really a perfect culmination of everything Loss Leader has to offer and then some.
As you know, all good things must come to an end and ‘True North’ ends with “The Cost”. A perfect exclamation point to a brilliant album, instead of fading out on a slower note, Loss Leader ends this ten-track album with a sense of power and fury as if daring you to forget about them or this album anytime soon. I don’t know how Loss Leader has flown under my radar for so long but I see them now and can not wait to hear more from them and hopefully catch them live soon!
My Favorite Track(s): “Choke”; “Simple”; “Bastard Space Dust”
For Fans Of: Understated Emotional Power; Midwest Emo With An edge
Mosh-ability: 8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie slept on the back of the couch; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 10 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 9.6 out of 10
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