Written by Matty Jiles
With the success of Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, and countless more bands, it’s no secret that Chicago is a big hub for up and coming pop punk. The genre is extremely popular in the area, making it a very competitive market. Luckily for Detour North, their 2018 release “It’s History, It’s Poetry” is a fun and well-written release that definitely stands out from the crowd.
Opening the album is “DEAD,” a catchy and upbeat way to kick off the album. This works as a great representation of the strengths each member of Detour North brings to the album's songs. Featuring driving bass riffs, chugging guitars, very effective leads, and some rhythmically interesting drumming, “DEAD” is this band at their best. The song has one of the strongest hooks on the album, just begging to be screamed by fans at live shows.
“Blackmail” keeps the energy high, and really shows off the level of musicianship this band possesses. Lots of the song's energy is provided by Drummer Danny Klus. The drums change rhythms often, yet never lose intensity, really driving the song. This isn’t to say the other instruments are lacking at all, as the songs chugging guitars and bass aid the drums in creating a unique experience.
Possibly the strongest melodies on “It’s History, It’s Poetry” come on the third track “July”. Vocalist Emmanuel Roldan sings with a sense of intensity and passion that demands the listener's attention. Aiding this impactful vocal performance is a collection of great melodies sure to get stuck in listeners heads quickly (they sure did with me!) Structurally, this song takes many twists and turns, which keeps it fresh and interesting.
Although Detour North has a very distinct sound with their music, each song is able to stand on its own as a solid listen. No two songs are the same, yet all of the songs feel like they belong together.
One of these risks comes with “Autumn Bloom”, a finger-picked ballad almost reminiscent of a John Mayer sound. Instrumentally, each of the band members broadens their horizons in impressive ways with this song. Guitarist Kem Mastey leads the song with a bluesy feeling riff that is definitely a stand out on the album. Detour North is great at writing in your face pop punk, but “Autumn Bloom” opens a new realm of sound for the band I think they should explore more often.
An aspect particularly distinct about Detour North’s music is how the band approaches rhythm. Often times, the melodies of the songs will follow the same rhythms as the instruments. This not only helps make the melodies even catchier, but it also shows off how tight of a band Detour North is. With their genre of music, unique rhythms are not a primary focus. So it’s very admirable to see this band finding ways to shake things up rhythmically.
“It’s History, It’s Poetry” sees Detour North taking their writing to a new level. Catchy yet gripping. Familiar yet new. These are definitely Detour North’s best songs yet, and many of these songs will end up on repeat for a while.
Favorite Tracks: DEAD, July, It’s History, It’s Poetry