Win Win Winter - A Brief History Of...
Record Label: 24 Hour Service Station
Release Date: March 18, 2008
The current temperature outdoors in this little Midwest town is a little over eighty degrees. Students all over campus are wearing short sleeves rolled up to their shoulders, and all of the girls are starting to break out their short shorts. Ironically, here I sit in my air conditioned room about to review an EP from a band known as Win Win Winter. Out of the even warmer Tampa Bay, Florida area, the group gained much hometown success from their 2007 release, Here in America. They are now supporting their most recent effort A Brief History Of…
Win Win Winter can’t easily be described, because each song on this five track EP could literally be grouped under a different genre. The first track on the album “Baker Ave.” sounds like an unreleased Portugal. The Man song with its repeated catchy guitar chords throughout and piercingly high vocals from frontman Tommy Simms. I honestly had to make sure that this wasn’t a Portugal. The Man side project upon listening to the first song. By the third track, ignorance fell upon me for thinking this when the band turned to a more southern and occasionally Brand New sound (see “New Accents”). The catchiest song on the album appears towards the closing stages of the EP. “Doves and Uppercuts” is a wooing and yielding song about a boy who is falsely accused of murdering his twin brother.
It could be looked upon in a good way or a bad way that the band seems to represent many different sounds equally. Win Win Winter will possibly be one of those bands that gain popularity in many different scenes with their diversity throughout this EP, but diversity can occasionally be mistaken for simply an undecided style among the members. Simply put, if the listener can understand what Win Win Winter are attempting to do musically with A Brief History Of… it is quite likely that they will enjoy listening to it. On the other hand, if the listener sees it as a hesitant attempt to test the waters with many different song/genre styles, then they may not take pleasure in listening to it as much. As a reviewer, I will leave you at this fork to decide for yourself what you may reap from this listen. Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure Books” you read as a kid? Yeah, well this is kind of like that.
The title of the EP is a play on the fact that Win Win Winter has had a fair number of lineup changes, having started as a kind of local supergroup of musicians from bands of wildly varying styles, including Automatic Loveletter, The Same, Disco Nap, Headset and Mants. This EP represents a sampling of the many incarnations of the band, having been recorded in several locations over more than a year.
As a former drummer for the band, I am refraining from actually reviewing the album because I feel unable to objectively assign values to each song...some I would probably rate higher than they deserve due to fond memories playing them, some I would rate lower than they deserve because they sounded even better live than on the disc.
The comparison to Portugal. The Man is cool to me, because they are one of my favorite bands! An even better comparison for Baker Ave. is a band out of LA called The Willowz. I don't really see the Brand New flavor, though.
Listen to this EP and you can hear the potential that will hopefully be realized when the band decides to record a proper full-length!
Thanks for your input on the review! It is nice to get some background information on the band and on how each track was recorded in different locations. Oh, and as for the Brand New vibe I picked up...I don't know why, but in the song "New Accents" I just got a little Deja Entendu vibe on certain parts.