Published Oct 21, 2020As the Stars Explode, the sophomore outing from Saskatoon-based country roots rockers the North Sound, is a slick, radio friendly record punctuated by the songwriting guile and instrumental prowess of Blackfoot singer-songwriter Forrest Eaglespeaker backed by Nevada Freistadt's tight, crisp harmonies. Collectively drawing comparisons to Steve Earle, the Allman Brothers, Crosby, Stills and Nash and fellow Saskatchewanian country artist JJ Voss, it's no small wonder that this group has garnered the attention they have, with several singles landing in the top spot of the national Indigenous Music Countdown.
After a somewhat bizarre, hip-hop-esque spoken word introduction, the record kicks off with the rollicking "Young, Dumb, Drunk and Not Doing So Good" and stellar single "Between the Ditches." Eaglespeaker then gets political with highlight track "This Land," where he weighs in on the Colten Boushie tragedy with the frustration and cynicism of someone who has, no doubt, seen plenty of these sorts of situations transpire during his lifetime. Topically, much of As the Stars Explode is making not necessarily political statements but more or less serving to tell Eaglespeaker's story as he examines, sometimes in great detail, the events he has lived and worked through, such as addiction and sobriety, mental health and intergenerational trauma.
Eaglespeaker offers a fresh take, both musically and lyrically on As the Stars Explode. The album takes a different route compared to the usual country music norms that at times stifle the genre, and it really works.