Gary Adrian (bass/pedals/vocals/keyboards), Brian Mueller (guitar/keyboards/ mellotron/lead vocals/ loops) and Stephen P. Rogers (sonic analyst/voice of reason/vocals) have known each other for a long time. The group known as North of Tomorrow got their start back when they were teenagers. They formed a band called Talus and eventually they broke up. All the members became successful in their selected fields but the passion to make music together seems to have never left the group. They started making music together again and eventually released their album entitled Something Unexpected in late 2022.
As a fan of technically proficient music like jazz, classical and pro rock I found this to be an album that hits a lot of the things I look for in a composition. I have a term for it and it’s called “musicians music.” I’m not saying if you aren’t a musician you won’t appreciate this music but this album is filled to the brim with things that are quite interesting if you know a little about theory and what it takes to pull it off.
All the songs seem to be around five to six minutes long which I think is just about perfect for the band to explore myriad possibilities on songs like “New October” or “It Could Have Been Me.” They mix things up genre-wise as well. You never feel like they are stuck in a specific sound and the seamless transitions throughout the songs feel fluid. The band takes on funk with a twist, jazz and other genres. It’s hard to know where one stops and one begins and that’s half the fun. The band is clearly playing with boundaries and doing it well.
This is the type of album where it works passively from a distance but the proper way to listen is actively with a high-fidelity system. The sonic tapestry is there for you to explore. Don’t get me wrong there are some catchy moments on this album, but these aren’t pop songs. And to be honest, if you enjoy more simplistic verse/chorus/verse-type songs this may not be what you’re looking for. However, if you like and want something a little more challenging the journey will reward you with many treasures.