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CD REVIEW: Winchester Revival - Eyes in the Canopy (EP)

by: Cyrus Rhodes

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Artist: Winchester Revival
Album: Eyes in the Canopy
Label: Tinderbox Music
Website:
http://winchesterrevival.bandcamp.com/

Genre: Ambient, Experimental, Ethno-Ambient, Electro
Sounds Like: XTC, The Fixx, They Might Be Giants, Death Cab for Cutie, Radiohead
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 710
Best Songs: Chemical Yellow, Matterhorn
Weakness: Winded Songs, More solo segments, EP release

EP REVIEW:

 

Winchester Revival is based in the East Bay, California and first started writing, recording and performing in 2013. WinRev is assembled from the dust of other bands-past. Bands that have made some damn good records and bands that have toured the U.S. and Europe extensively. Members: Kirk Snedeker : drums; Ron Cruz : bass; David Rosenheim : vocals; Matt Glick : electronics; Andrew Lund : guitar, backing vocals Locale: Oakland, CA. Influences include: Foals, Warpaint, Cursive, 2:54, Radiohead.

The CD quickly kicks things off with intoxicating “Chemical Yellow” a pulsating intro piece that dishes out solid low end rock groove, with driving rhythms against dynamic groove and infectious vocals and phrasing from lead singer Rosenheim. This first track makes a solid first impression delivering a catchy melody and impressive guitar ambience. Track 2 “Matterhorn” serves-up another strong piece of music combining melodic guitar ambience with impassioned vocal passion that methodically flows and ebbs its way through emotional fruition with a grand slam chorus. Track 3 “Wonderland” presents more poppy, sing songy rock flair combining mesmerizing melodic guitar and impassioned feel that leads you head first into an amazing vocal finale.  As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic XTC, Death Cab for Cutie, The Fixx, They Might Be Giants, Radiohead and a splash of Modest Mouse. Despite my attempt at pigeonholing it needs to be said their sound is highly original and clean. The music has everything you would expect from a 6 piece rock band i/e solid low end rock grooves, melodic rhythm guitar with catchy electronica accents and keyboards, melodic vocals and impressive harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm foundation. The vocal style of Rosenheim goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively. He’s got an amazing vocal timber and appealing vibrato and falsetto to boot. Rosenheim takes many impressive vocal risks along the way indicating to me a strong and confident vocal ability. The songwriting is world despite being a bit winded and somewhat Progressive. All engineering aspects check out as the EP provides thick low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity overall. Kudos gores out to the amazing rhythm guitar playing and tonality by Andrew Lund. As the EP slowly reveals more and more to you it’s obvious Winchester revival is an accomplished rock band that is fun to listen to providing catchy melodies and a solid dance rock backbone. If these guys had a solid live presentation they would indeed be even more deadly no doubt. All songs themselves are rock-solid across the board with lyrical content that provides brilliant flashes of rich conventional wisdom and passion. The EP ends with “Submarine Bell” the perfect final statements for an EP like this.

All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I wish there were more solo segments throughout. I typically deduct 1 star for EP releases as the full length CD is the best most complete snapshot to judge an artists by at any point in time

After checking out Eyes in the Canopy EP by Winchester Revival I abandoned any hopes of finding any serious flaws. This EP is an impressive statement nonetheless that clearly proves this band is a force to be reckoned with around Oakland and beyond. I especially like how the songs are quite dynamic and progressive yet they still maintain strong marketability and melodic structure. I look forward to checking out more material from Winchester Revival - hopefully this summer via a Full Length release.  

Cyrus Rhodes

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