Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Album review - Windings 'It's Never Night'

‘It’s Never Night’
(Out On A Limb Records)
CHOOSING TO open this album with the soft, atmospheric and warmly folk-tinged track ‘Lil Hands’ is something of a masterstroke by windings frontman Steve Ryan - proving immediately that this band is the antithesis of his former band, the hard-rocking Giveamanakick.
That said, the cheery, “woo” opening of second song Brain Fluid is the polar opposite of that hushed offering, and a demonstration of this band’s range, now that a “definitive” windings line-up has been found featuring, in particular, Ryan’s long time collaborator and friend Liam Marley, who brought a high level of multi-instrumental and song-writing skills to the table in 2008, with Aaron Mulhall’s drumming abilities and Patrick O’Brien (of Last Days of Death Country fame) added later.
This settled unit, which initially offered Ryan a font with which to express his musical alter ego, has now, with a settled line-up and collaborative process in place, given him the position in which to flex his musical muscles in a way that GAMAK could not.
Brain Fluid was the lead single from the album and impressed many on its release earlier this year for ringing with a sunny pop sensibility evocative of Teenage Fanclub or REM but we (proudly) knew of Ryan’s potential since the first windings release in 2005 - and through his antics with his former band, now sadly disbanded but not forgotten.
The Limerick man’s effortless electric guitar skills and fingerprints are all over this album, particularly on the aforementioned lead single, the upbeat yet retro Poor In The Mouth and the rockier You Did.
But it is the folk driven songs we love most here, the epic, stomach churning Apologia, finishing as it does with a post-rock wig out; the beautifully wistful Song of the Doomed; and the gorgeously warm Old Like J, a stone-wall album highlight that you won’t be able to get out of your head for days, and won’t want to for that matter.
The changing, twisting seven-something minutes of These Horses Also Ran is firm proof if you needed it that this album was worth the wait, chugging toward a soaring finish with rat-tat drumming and jangling guitars, bursting into a furious, eye-opening climax. A long time coming, but worth the wait - and then some.

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