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Album Review

Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, 'Northern Aggression'

November 29, 2010

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Jokingly named for the band’s invasion of Richmond to record it, “Northern Aggression’’ is the first album from Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3 in five years. The record kicks off with a look back. Opening song “Resolution’’ is inescapably reminiscent of Wynn’s celebrated ’80s band, the Dream Syndicate. “Everything that rises must resolve,’’ warns the song, and Wynn doubles back to the theme to close the album, but this time on a more optimistic note, complete with woo-hoo background crooning and as fine an example of his spoken-sung vocalizing as he’s ever put to tape. In between those bookends, he recovers old lyrics (“No One Ever Drowns,’’ a song written before his Dream Syndicate days), creates others extempore (“Consider the Source,’’ which marries Jason Victor’s fantastic, off-kilter guitar work to lyrics Wynn brought forth in the act of recording), and rubs noirish revisitations (“The Death of Donny B’’) up against shimmering, pedal steel-infused melancholy (“St. Millwood’’) and fierce, rocking joy (“Colored Lights’’). “Northern Aggression’’ rocks as ferociously as anything Wynn has ever done.

STUART MUNRO

ESSENTIAL “Colored Lights’’