Northern Portrait sleeves 2

Making The Sundays look prolific, Northern Portrait, from Copenhagen, have released just one LP and three EPs in their nine years. Four more things than I’ll ever release, of course. And – as my internet search has just this moment revealed – you can add a compilation too. So make that five. Ever on the pulse, I’ve learned this collection, called Ta!, was out in 2013 and that it handcuffs together those EPs and assorted odds and ends (including a galloping cover of Cliff Richard’s Some People).

So, what do they sound like? Well, if you’ve not heard them, I’ll leave that up to you. But don’t worry, it’s not Cliff Richard. Have a listen, won’t you, to the title track from the Criminal Art Lovers LP. For me, it’s their best song. It ghosts in – and OK, here’s something of a clue – like the Hand in Glove single. It jangles and chimes. And then, before you know it, Stefan Larsen – from Copenhagen via Carnforth – has elegantly slung you a line about a lazy Tuesday. Explore beyond the songs below, and it’s all headaches and new favourite moments, and dry, smarty-pants lyrics about committing hara-kiri with a teaspoon and running out of clever things to say.

So, to sum up, as no one ever actually says or should write, if you’re fond of a certain celebrated 80s UK guitar band you might find something you like in the songs below.

Alternatively, if you’re fond of a certain celebrated 80s UK guitar band you might find something you hate in the songs below.


…if you still grumble about the demise of Woolworths…

…if you eat foul, girl-scaring, borderline-Fascist liquorice sweets…00

…and, if you only ever really wanted to live inside the film Billy Liar, well, you could do a whole lot worse.

Criminal Art Lovers – from the LP of the same name (2010) And already clumsily summarised above.

The Fallen Aristocracy – from the eponymous EP (2008) Cureish. REMish. Danish.

I Give You Two Seconds To Entertain Me – from the Napoleon Sweetheart EP (2008) Was there ever a brattier song title?

The Operation Worked But The Patient Died – from the Criminal Art Lovers LP (2010) No, it’s not a statement from Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. But it is a really graceful number.

Some People – B-side to Life Returns to Normal 7″ (2010) Some people, it seems, love to hurt one another. Northern Portrait, though, are not like that at all.


JC adds……

All this year that I’ve been gently pestering the extremely shy strangeways to provide a second guest posting after the excellent Tilly and The Wall ICA in July 2015.  The wait has been well worth it…..excellent songs so wonderfully described with fine words.


  1. Got the LP and at first couldn’t get past the echoes of that band from northern England. However soon the songs own personality shone through

  2. One of my biggies, Strangeways. For you newbies, the 2013 compilation ‘Ta!’ is a great place to start. Just want to add that the cover of the EP ‘Pretty Decent Swimmers’ is my all-time favorite. Oh, and I have heard from a very reliable source that the wait for new material is almost over.

  3. Never heard of them before, but really enjoyed those tracks. As for sounding like a band from Northern England, I’m put in mind more of their 90’s sound-alikes, Gene. Some may see this as a Bad Thing – I don’t.

  4. Thanks for the comments folks. I agree that Ta! is a good intro for newcomers. Agree also regarding Gene – no Bad Thing. Will be great to hear new NP music.

  5. I wonder if Northern Portrait even know they have a presence in the blogosphere. They represent a continuation of that certain jangle that can be traced from Scotland down to the North West of England. Criminal Art Lovers and Greetings From Paris (Hennessy, Tennessee Williams and me,,,just brilliant) are my favorites, but there’s deep value in their limited canon.

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