I Spell It Nature is an instrumental post-rock band from Ottawa, Canada, that appears to be in ascendance. They’ve already shared the stage with none other than Quebec’s Karkwa, who, of course, won the Polaris Music Prize back in 2010. Their latest release, North, doesn’t exactly re-write the book on post-rock, which might be a bit of a failing, as this is pretty trad emo-ish rock just without vocals in my estimation. Still, if you want to hear something glorious, romantic and triumphant, you would do no wrong in checking these guys out. While the 10 songs that make up North are basically variations on a theme, and the differences between tunes are subtle at best, even the most jaded have to admit that it’s quite gorgeous music. The point of reference I would make is to the Appleseed Cast’s latest outing, just, of course, without any singing. So if that sounds appealing, and it should, then I Spell It Nature should be your go-to band while waiting for the next offering from that American outfit.
What makes North drip with loveliness is that the group augments its music with cellos and fragile piano to make something that is quite breathlessly beautiful. If tears welled up in your eyes while listening to this, well, that just goes to prove my point. There are no songs that rise above the others, this whole collection is meant to be played from start to finish. Put another way, it would be difficult to select a song to put on a mixtape for a special someone, because they’re all pretty good. And, again, they all do sound somewhat alike, so to just circle one piece as the very best on the album would be tough to do. On that front, North is pretty interconnected. This is an LP that you can’t really take apart and, structurally, the record is quite strong. However, a slight tick against the material is that it does become a bit rote the more one goes on listening to this album, suggesting that maybe I Spell It Nature’s biggest assets would more readily emerge on EPs. However, the record is competently recorded, the playing is professional (heck, there’s some virtuoso guitar work) and the overall effect is enjoyable. It’d be nice to see I Spell It Nature expand their sonic palette in the future, but North is endearing in its own ways. If you don’t dab your eyes listening to this, well, you just ain’t human because these are pretty, pretty songs of superb substance.