Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Windings - I Am Not The Crow

In the early 2000's Stephen Ryan needed an alternative creative outlet from his critically acclaimed band Giveamanakick. The outstanding results eventually found their way on to 2005's self titled d├ębut 'Windings.' Since then Ryan has seen his secondary creative outlet become his main focus, moving from solo project to a fully formed entity in its own right. Fast forward to 2012 as Windings release their finest set of material to date 'I Am Not The Crow.' An eclectic 8 track collection of bittersweet sunshine pop and undulating indie rock rhythms, with a melodic alt country twist.

'I Am Not The Crow' begins bravely with the sparkling Sun In My Bones. A beautiful happy/sad creation in the tradition of Teenage Fanclub and Wilco. It builds beautifully across the duration of its eight minutes culminating in a  stunning virtuoso guitar solo that Nels Cline (Wilco) would surely approve of. Stephen Ryan's self-destructive, self-deprecating lyrics sit effortlessly above the delicately unfolding musical arrangement. Sun In My Bones is undoubtedly one of the finest opening statements of an Irish album this year.

Something Outnumbered continues the albums happy/sad feel however, this time the soundscape is darker, thanks to Brian Meaney's military drumbeat. Ryan's vocals are magnificent, once again capturing the atmosphere of the track perfectly "There's not much hope of changing and this place is becoming me So keep all the good stuff to yourself and hope all your hopes so secretly" concedes Ryan in the verse, whilst defiantly stating "they could light a fire but I'd burn if i could just stay by your side" through the chorus.

Alkaterian Are Alright signals a major change in approach by Windings. The melancholy of the opening tracks is replaced by a defiant upbeat rock and roll rebellion wall of sound. This track is reminiscent of early Foo Fighters material, with supercharged power chords belting forth, yet still retaining their melodic stability. Ryan has conjured up a memorable chorus of "Breathe in, Slow Down, Sleep in, but they won't wait for us all that long." Which ties the composition together wonderfully.

Windings turbocharged approach to songwriting continues on single This Is Conversation which begins life as an indie disco dance floor filler, with bouncy bass and cowbell pangs. Before building into a giant soundscape of distorted guitar stabs, as Ryan delivers a lyrical trifecta of chorus lines, which he rotates and again and again, before the albums second guitar solo closes the track on a twisty flourish.

Cleaner seems somewhat meek following the uptempo bombast of the previous three tracks and is perhaps, by default, the albums lowest point. While, In Need Of Some Repair is an enjoyable, spooky reprise of opening track Sun In My Bones. But the only real disappointment is that Windings have chose not to include 2011's sublime standalone single Embury Greenway on 'I Am Not The Crow.'

No comments: