The Winter Sounds
Church Of The Haunted South


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brent Stephenson USER (67 Reviews)
April 25th, 2009 | 33 replies | 10,870 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An impressive album from a criminally overlooked group of musicians.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Over the past couple of weeks or so, I've come to realize just how many things there are in this world that make absolutely no sense to me. Vacuum packaging, Fox News, Microsoft Points (why can't you just use money?), and the popularity of things like autotuned vocals are just a few of the things that confound me on a daily basis, but the main quandary that's been plaguing my thoughts recently is this. Why in the world haven't The Winter Sounds been scooped up by a major label yet? On paper, they have everything that seems to be necessary for success in today's "indie" scene; lush keyboard atmospheres, soaring vocals, occasional quirky drumbeats, memorable melodies, and, of course, lyrical themes that involve love, death, and growing old. So forgive me for being a bit perplexed as to why a band that now has two incredibly solid albums under their belts is still being largely overlooked by the musical community.

Church of the Haunted South is the second album from the Georgian quartet (soon relocating to Chicago), and it's arguably one of the best releases to come out of it's respective genre so far this year. Instead of simply taking all of the aforementioned elements and hastily throwing them together in a lackluster collection of ultimately forgettable radio-friendly pop tunes like so many other bands have done recently, The Winter Sounds manages to tie everything together with strong songwriting and an almost impeccable balance of substance and "catchiness". Another thing that sets the album a bit above the rest of the pack is the fact that the album actually has a well thought out structure in terms of song placement. Instead of grouping songs into sets of upbeat catchy numbers and ballads, which seems to have become par for the course as of late, the songs are set up to give the album a sort of "peaks and valleys' kind of feel to it. For example, the album starts off strong with the upbeat Trophy Wife, which ends up being one of the album's stand out tracks, with its soaring choruses and numerous infectious instrumental hooks, before dipping into the fairly somber (yet oddly uplifting) O'Fear, and subsequently rising back up into the toe tapping Candelight.

Another interesting aspect of the album is the way in which climaxes come about. Perhaps one of the best "climactic" moments comes after the first chorus in Candlelight, when everything abruptly drops out except for a very distant vocal line and a soft (heavily reverb laden) guitar melody. It doesn't sound like a moment like this would be even remotely climactic, but the effect it creates is almost jarring (in a good way). In addition to the climactic moments, there are also quite a few ear catching moments within the songs that sort of draw the listener back in if they happen to zone out during one of the albums slower ballad-esque numbers, like the odd combination of violin, acoustic guitar, mandolin, synth, and a quirky dance beat in the outro to Marry Me. However, there are a few moments where the slower songs almost run themselves into a slight rut and kill the momentum, but they're almost always salvaged by the inclusion of a bubbly synth line, or a wavering falsetto line to contrast with vocalist Patrick Keenan's usual warm tenor voice.

If The Winter Sounds continue to pump out more material of this quality, and continue to be overlooked by a wide margin of the music community, I will be nothing short of shocked. What Church of the Haunted South accomplishes is to take all of the most enjoyable elements of their contemporaries within the genre, and add enough of their own flavor to it to make it sound original and refreshing, but still retain enough familiarity to make it instantly memorable and enjoyable. With the way things are looking now, I would hope to expect much bigger things from the band in the near future.



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user ratings (8)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
marksellsuswallets
April 25th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe I'm just a bit too fond of the band but I'm fairly confident I'm not overrating this in the slightest. Album is so good.

Oh yeah, stream it here...

http://thewintersounds.bandcamp.com/ This Message Edited On 04.25.09

Waior
April 25th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wow, this sounds super promising. Solid review.

marksellsuswallets
April 25th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review quality is probably a bit affected from spending an entire week doing a mind numbing Psychology PowerPoint that I would have much rather not done, but sadly, project that counts for 25% of final grade is more important than an album review.

Waior
April 25th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nah, didn't affect it noticeably. And happy 50th.

Essence
April 25th 2009



3577 Comments



There are many, many things in this world that I just don't "get". When did jogging in place to a breakdown become the cool thing to do, why do people actually enjoy autotuned vocals, and why in the world do we still collectively put up with things like vacuum sealed packaging, Rush Limbaugh, and Microsoft Points (there's always a ton left over after buying something which translates to enough money to get at least a double cheeseburger) are just a few of those things.

Entire paragraph needs to be re-worked.


come on man you are better than this, I can't get past the first paragraph...This Message Edited On 04.25.09

marksellsuswallets
April 25th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I rushed through it. I got frustated with the ideas I had and just slapped something together, I'm actually in the process of reworking it though should be fixed in a few minutes.

Waior
April 25th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Old paragraph was comprehensible enough, but that is a huge improvement.

BallsToTheWall
April 25th 2009



44164 Comments


Wow, regardless if i like it, this was a very, very selling reviewing. I'm on board to check thee guys out despite not being a big indie guy.

fireaboveicebelow
April 26th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty great

NOTINTHEFACE
April 26th 2009



1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rush Limbaugh>everyone.
Great review. I'm listening now, and it sounds good.

marksellsuswallets
April 26th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It makes my heart smile to know that people actually checked this out, as my review of their other album went largely ignored...

NOTINTHEFACE
April 26th 2009



1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, thanks to you I'll be getting this and I'll likely check out their other album. Very solid Indie pop right here.

marksellsuswallets
April 26th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you like this you should definitely check out their other album. This album is a lot more consistent, but Porcelain Empire has two of their best tracks, A Call To Arms and Windy City Nights.

Waior
April 26th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

as my review of their other album went largely ignored...


Might the contributer status have anything to do with that?

marksellsuswallets
April 26th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You might be on to something there...

natey
April 26th 2009



4170 Comments


definitely going to check this out. recs are great

Waior
April 26th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wait a second, where do you find this?

marksellsuswallets
April 26th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The band came through my city a few years ago, came through again last year, played a show with them this year.

Waior
April 26th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, neat. Cool to know.

But, where can I find this CD? Haha.

marksellsuswallets
April 26th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Physical copies won't be out until July sadly =(

The only place you can listen to it as of now is the stream that I provided a link to.



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