Marketing their release as mere “inventive prog rock” seems like a drastic undersell on the part of North of Tomorrow and their new album ‘Something Unexpected”. It is inventive alright, and much more.

North of Tomorrow are a three-piece band that’s based in Phoenix, Arizona. Composed of a group of friends and bandmates: Gary Adrian, Brian Mueller, and Stephen Rogers. Their latest work is an expansive studio album that explores a litany of genres during its healthy runtime. Sprinkled with spectacular performances from the band’s 3 members, the album is built around fantastic guitars and guitar tones, some really fresh bass lines, and amazing grooves. The progressive vein is also very easy to spot. The songs feature unconventional structures and the drum grooves are more often than not left-field and explorative. The end result is a sound that peaks the curiosity while tingling the nostalgia factor.

My Sweet Spot is a delicious piece of progressive jazz and funk that beams with horns and rotary organs on its modal, unsettled composition that harkens back to 70s anime music. Immaculate, rich, and groovy. A showcase of a band that’s not scared to explore sounds and vibes. Shaky Bones explore the bluesy side of prog jazz and achieve flying results. This instrumental includes some of the album’s tastiest bass riffs, most tight and rewarding grooves, and some immediately terrific guitar layering. The interplay between guitars in the left and right speakers is an idea that never gets old, and the song’s composition is warm, mellow, and sexy.

Lean On In’s inventive beat catches you off guard and stays for a couple of bars until you realize the trick and then the song starts to grow on you with its jangling acoustic guitar and creative composition. Perhaps a moment as good as any on the album to start talking on the vocals. Relatable and high reaching, the voice sits somewhere between Gilmour’s strained yells and Liam Ghllagher’s hearty street calls. The melodies are usually restrained and float side by side very nicely with the harmonies underneath. Nothing groundbreaking, but with music this rich, maybe going with groundbreaking vocals can be a bit of an overkill.

Perhaps lovers of prog would be most interested in ‘At FIrst Blush’. Arriving in the album’s last third, this instrumental’s sneaky and twisting riffs, bass lines, and time signatures scream prog. Toying with dissonance and the introduction of hectic tension through unsettled rhythms, the piece offers an unequaled lead guitar performance with a tone that will be hard to forget. Pray For Rain features a modal and melodic composition that floats and flutters. The music invokes a sense of Vai-ness that showcases yet another musical style that North of Tomorrow diverges to with considerable success. Unforgettable guitars and a drum performance that’s easily the best on the whole album

Something Unexpected easily lives up to its name, with every single song bringing something new to the table, exploring a direction that’s wholly different from the previous one, while remaining entirely progressive throughout. An album that rewards attention, curiosity, and multiple repeats, North of Tomorrow is a lush listen that will be hard to get over.