On album number ten The Sadies start things off slowly with the shimmering & reflective 'Riverview Fog', as aptly a titled song as they've ever managed over the course of their 20 years in the business.
As those of you who know what to expect from the Canadian quartet there's not just melancholia & nostalgic elements to the band's sound & any complacency engendered by the opener is swiftly dealt a blow by the rougher & faster 'Another Season Again' and the garage-like beginning of third track 'There Are No Words'.
There's a fair amount of complexity to that last song as it changes tempo through its course, settling down to a mellower pace after the initial rambunctious start where you almost feel that one or other of the players is following unrelated notation.
Kurt Vile takes the lead vocal part on 'It's Easy (Like Walking)', placing himself alongside the likes of Neko Case, Neil Young, Jon Spencer & Andre Williams and the other equally illustrious collaborators The Sadies have had the pleasure to record with in their time.
As with practically all of their full-length studio releases Northern Passages has a concept album-like feel to it - the running order is unproblematic and the ebb and flow of the various tunes' pacing (the instrumental break in 'Through Strange Eyes' being a particular highlight of the upbeat moments) makes for a very comfortable assault on your ears.
It's long enough ago since I last saw the band live that the venue they played in Edinburgh has repurposed as a steak restaurant but, on the strength of their work here on Northern Passages, I'm hopeful any promotional tour will bring them back to this latitude.