Detour North "It's History, It's Poetry" Review


Detour North’s It’s History, It’s Poetry has been a highly anticipated release within the local Chicago pop punk scene this year, as the group has not released new music since January of 2015. With three years between releases, there was a lot of time for the band to change and evolve as musicians, as individuals, and a unit. That evolution is apparent in this release, where Detour North provide their most diverse collection of songs to date, with songs that experiment with previously unvisited sounds and push the boundaries of genre.

The album opener, “DEAD,” provides a hook-driven and anthemic sing-along chorus, before propelling forward at full speed into a fast and energetic song that is sure to excite the listener. This energy continues with “Blackmail,” perhaps the most familiar sounding song on the record. Vocalist Emmanuel Roldan’s frustration and angst take the forefront of this song, with lyrics such as “an angry boy’s conscience is silent at best” and “if you’re the death of me, then I died at sixteen” begging to be shouted in the audience at a live show.

From here, the album takes an unexpectedly light turn, with a sing-along of “whoa-oh’s” and “ooh’s” beginning track three, “July,” and “Autumn Bloom,” a ballad that showcases guitarist Kem Mastey’s versatility, as he executes a tasteful, blues-influenced riff that breathes throughout the entire song. From there, the title track “It’s History, It’s Poetry” picks the energy back up, with the chugging guitars and aggressive vocals that Detour North are known for.

Next comes a particular high point of the record, the acoustic track “You Look Like Hell.” This track presents an interesting dichotomy between music and lyrics, as the acoustic guitar and piano notes suggest a sweet and endearing tune is to follow, but is met instead with lyrics of disdain, anger, and hurt. The album closes with “You’re A Saint/I’m a Nonbeliever,” introduced by a pounding drum beat that carries the momentum through the entire song. This song brings the record full circle in a number of ways. The verses bring the aggression and wit seen throughout, the chorus begs to be sung along to, and the track closes with Emmanuel repeating the line “I guess I wish that I was your monster…” from track one underneath rounds of the song’s own lyrics.

All in all, the group have created a diverse yet coherent, fresh yet familiar record that will deliver to those that have been waiting. They push their musical boundaries, but still retain an identifiably Detour North sound.


'It’s History, It’s Poetry' can be pre-ordered here: & includes a digital download of the entire album 

By Trevor Hancock