Windsor Drive - Bridges
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: May 26, 2009
Windsor Drive -- the name sounds like it could be the title of one of those stylized teen dramas on the CW network, the kind that depicts suburban kids' experiences with fleeting romance and features girls who are always way hotter than any of those I went to school with. As it turns out, the moniker is apropos, as Windsor Drive's music would make a fitting soundtrack for such a program's heart-rending breakup scenes and passionate makeout sequences. In much the same way that you still feel compelled to watch shows like this despite the fact that once you've seen one, you've seen them all, Windsor Drive's polished piano-and-guitar approach is played to the point of being apathy-inducing, yet their captivating melodies somehow keep you listening.
Bridges is a five-track EP that showcases a band that seems bent on achieving stardom. Their press kit claims the band draws influence from Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie and Keane, but this album doesn't seem to aspire to Chris Martin's lofty ambitions, doesn't contain Ben Gibbard's darkly poetic musings, and doesn't embody Keane's distinctly Britpop flair. A more accurate comparison might be to Copeland, were Copeland's focus more aimed at immediately digestible melodies instead of shimmering, majestic soundscapes. Windsor Drive's sound is characterized by sparkling vocals, prominent piano leads and guitars that seem to glide in from afar and never get up in your face. Lyrically, the band doesn't stray far from the prototypical yearning professions of love, a far cry from the work of the aforementioned bands, lacking the Brits' grand, sweeping gestures and Death Cab's often grim introspection.
Bridges is the type of effort that one would expect to attract attention from major labels looking for the next marketable act, as their lustrous pop sound and syrupy, sentimental themes make their music sound destined for TV and movie placements. The music all sounds a bit homogeneous, but that never stopped a band from blowing up (see The Fray), so it wouldn't be implausible to predict great success in Windsor Drive's future. The masses will surely eat this stuff up, but the discerning listener will recognize this for what it is -- capable musicians making professional, palatable pop music that ultimately lacks substance.