Northern Alliance (4 stars)

Northern Alliance

The Hand of God (Fence)

LO-FI

Named after Maradona’s infamous goal against England in the ‘86 World Cup, East Lothian lo-fi shamblers Northern Alliance’s fourth LP might seem like a jingoistic poke southwards, but in substance it’s an inward looking affair.

Between slow clicking drum machines, peeling keys and hazy intertwining melodies, there’s tales of culturally institutionalised boozing, the nation’s curious relationship with hope and, naturally, the inspiring power (at least in these parts) of one squat Argentinean’s iconic raised fist.

It makes for a fine record: plaintive, but – like Ballboy’s I Hate Scotland, or anything by Arab Strap – still able to find irresistible romance in the gloomiest recesses of the national character. Just don’t expect it to prove popular down south.

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