National Skyline National Skyline

National Skyline is a band that has gone through many incarnations before they even made it into the recording studio. Formed by Jeff Dimpsey (from Hum), they were initially obsessed with writing epic songs that lasted more than 40 minutes each. They changed their focus when Dimpsey recruited Castor's Jeff Carber, and the band started to write material that showed a strong '80s influence while trying to add a more modern sheen. And that is where their eponymously titled mini album finds them. The quieter songs remind me an awful lot of the Blue Nile, albeit slightly faster and with more squiggly keyboard noises - they swirl around atmospherically and it works out quite nicely. Every so often a song decides to shoot off at a tangent and that turns out to be the moment at which it goes a little belly up. It's an interesting debut and one that shows a little bit of promise, but hopefully they can keep containing themselves in the future. They might have to come up with some more ideas before then, though, because while you can span one concept over a mini album, you need a little bit more for a full-length album. (Hidden Agenda)