Release Date: July 3rd 2020
Label: Big Scary Monsters / Counter Intuitive Records
For the first time in five years, Dublin’s The Winter Passing have scaffolded a home away from home in their newest full-length, ‘New Ways Of Living’. The ten-track radiates all the familiarity of British character, and tucks into a fried breakfast behind the bleak frosted windows of a cafe somewhere in Ireland, unpolished and charming.
Opening in the form of ‘Ghost Thing’, this record proves to be one that places more emphasis on its approachability than anything. It’s a little rough around the edges, with gritty guitar tones and equally loose vocals, but there’s a warmth to it that draws us in as they stroll through drizzled streets so familiar today.
‘Melt’ is a little more standard in terms of its melodic drawbacks and on-the-nose lyrics, but it slots in nicely beside the more extravagant ‘New York’. Here, the band grip the reins a little tighter and show more fervour in their already dynamic vocal deliveries, and the squawks of the guitar smash the track against the door of the cafe, begging to wreak some havoc in what once was a comfortable setting.
Although a little odd in and of itself, ‘Crybaby’ comes as a tranquil transition into the second half of the album. Elementary chants steam atop the meat of the track, which in this case is undeniably the bass, and ‘Greetings From Tipperary’ soon chirps in, alluringly reminiscent. In spite of its simplicity, this two-minute offering is the strongest on the release, gentle introspection, and all.
‘Resist’ and ‘Something To Come Home To’ return to business as usual, dirtied with doughy guitars and comfortable structures. The Winter Passing are evidently dead-set on embracing the gloom of out West sodden streets and have maintained such melancholy throughout this release, but as the eighth track drudges on, the charm loses a little novelty as predictability swells.
Crisp and poised, however, ‘I Want You’ dilutes the norm established previously, and again allows the band to exist in their raw formation. And, while final track ‘Mind Yourself’ is a breakneck conclusion that paints the walls of once sepia towns red, ‘New Ways Of Living’ may just be the encouragement that The Winter Passing need to dip their toes a little further into their lighter side. There’s just something genuinely friendly in their softer tracks that is hard to find in most releases.
While there is no doubt that the Irish outfit should be treating themselves to a couple of beers following this release, more pepperings of the lighter statement tracks in their next effort would be the icing on the bun. ‘New Ways Of Living’ is just the tip of the ascent for The Winter Passing, and their development is sure to nip at your attention one way or another.