Northcote: Hope Is Made Of Steel

Beautifully ‘from-the-heart’ third album from Canadian troubadour.

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With the best will in the world, it’s easy to sound a little ‘worthy’ in pursuit of Springsteen-shaped poetry. Many a well-meaning band has fallen short of the Boss’s revered standards, into earnest-but-dull territory.

Which makes Northcote (aka Matt Gould) stand out, because his brand of blue-collar, singer/songwriter lust is utterly convincing – world-worn yet fresh and sharp. Think a heavier Chuck Ragan, with a shot of latter-day Deaf Havana and Gaslight Anthem-ish hints.

Coming from small-town Saskatchewan (he’s played places with names like Moose Jaw…), Gould has ascended from prairie roots to soaring, soft rock singalongs like Small Town Dreams. The stirring acoustic strum of Leaving Wyoming is a gorgeous, downtempo example of his gently countrified side, while You Could Never Let Me Down is heartwarming and lovely – finished off with a sweetly classic solo.

It’s familiar ground, but beautifully done; catnip for lovers of Ragan, Ryan Adams and the like.