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North Elementary doesn't fit easily into any of the typical rock cubbyholes, so let's call them indie and leave it at that. Their swervy, dizzy sound is built off a rock/pop base but wobbles like a weeble, falling at times into a shimmering crawl that recalls slo-core, as on meandering tracks like "Teenage Wife" or "Heartbreakin' in Machine." Elsewhere, they wrangle a chunky, energetic rock pace, as on "Into You" and "Lazy Daisy." But whichever way they lean, the album's characterized by a certain ramshackle sonic quality that feels like pieces of the North Elementary vehicle are flapping in the wind and liable to fly off at any moment--that is, if they haven't already. This is a charming quality but can be a detriment. While the sonic drama of their shuddering pop-rock has an enticing, death-defying appeal, it also feels a bit like the sextet's still fumbling with the map and the directions. While nothing sounds bad or underworked, there's nothing exceptionally memorable either. A decent album, but maybe a tad undercooked.

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