Windmills By the Ocean
Windmills By the Ocean II


4.0
excellent

Review

by Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration USER (56 Reviews)
February 24th, 2011 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For the first time in 2011, my iTunes genre OCD has failed me.

You know that feeling you get when you hear music that you just can't categorize? Maybe you don't; maybe this only applies to my fellow iTunes genre OCD brethren, but we've all experienced the feeling to some capacity. It's when valid comparisons are just barely out of reach and an excessively long micro genre tag is right on the tip of your tongue, but nothing ever actually comes out. This is what obscure ambient/shoegaze/post-rock/post-metal/drone/god-knows-what act Windmills By the Ocean have done with their sophomore effort, creatively titled Windmills By the Ocean II. In the album/EP's sub-30-minute runtime the band takes the listener on a psychedelic trip through numerous microgenres and styles, only to plaster an utterly befuddled expression onto the face of the listener by its end.

The first thing you need to know going into this is that it is repetitive and it is minimalistic. If your attention span is already dozing off at this point, it's time to forget about even trying this album. There are no showoffy scales or bombastic blastbeats to keep you occupied: Windmills By the Ocean rely entirely upon a beautiful, naturalistic atmosphere to enthrall the listener. In a way, II could almost draw comparisons to some Cascadian black metal acts in its extremely nature-oriented feel. Everything from the song names, the soothing mood, and a few scattered samples (the beginning of Azure is a prime example) point to a record inspired at least in part by unrefined natural beauty. All of the album's 5 tracks have a similar new-age-y (except non-gay) ambient backdrop that arguably serves as the music's focal point: especially in tracks 2, 3, and 5, the guitars, bass, and drums serve to accentuate it rather than to overpower it. It is soothing, calm, and beautiful, and is what, in the end, makes the album into what it is.

For the most part II is instrumental, with its focus being on creating a sense of atmosphere rather than any vocal work. The opening track (Pagan Sun) and the closer (Occul) both have an extremely spacey, near indecipherable, pushed-back-in-the-mix clean that, like everything else on the album, serve as just another factor contributing top the music's atmosphere rather than as the music's focus. Other than some near-unnoticeable female vocals on The Circul, this is as far as the vocal work on this album goes. For many, this could make the record into something boring and monotonous, and to be fair, there honestly is not much that happens here. From the metalgaze-y Pagan Sun to the eerily God Is An Astronaut-esque Star to the epicly spacey 10-minute closer Occul, this is not music for active listening: in fact, it could be argued that giving this too much brainpower would detract from the overall listening experience. But, in the end, II is not something you listen to as actively and with as much attention as you would other music. It is music that you throw on while riding in the car on a rainy day, or zone out to after a hard day at work, or just fall asleep to. Everything here is spacey and far-out, transporting your mind into a relaxed and meditative state that is so utterly separate from the hustle of everyday life that you might not actually like this at first. True, it is abnormal, it could be considered dull, and it's not an easy listen, but I can promise you: it is so worth it in the end.

Album Highlights
Pagan Sun
Occul




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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
wyankeif1337
February 24th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

people need this really badly. it's really the chillest album this year behind Earth's lates, and it might even surpass it in chillness with repeated listens.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 24th 2011


10614 Comments


Glad you reviewed this. Great job!

Formatting error in the first paragraph

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

wyankeif1337
February 24th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh yeah, thanks

cvlts
February 24th 2011


8967 Comments


coding error in the first paragraph

wyankeif1337
February 24th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dammit

cvlts
February 25th 2011


8967 Comments


noice. anywho, review is aight. really don't like sub-genres so i'll stay away. have a feeling Wolfe is gonna come in here trippin in a bit lol.

wyankeif1337
February 25th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i know, i know. i've come to expect nothing less from the dude.

and a fear of sub-genres shouldn't restrict you from getting this, i just used them as a talking point in the review. i usually try to find a "theme" like that to stick with in my reviews so i can make a less awkward intro and conclusion. but seriously, don't let it deter you.

TheSpirit
February 25th 2011


17930 Comments


sounds interesting

sifFlammable
February 25th 2011


2741 Comments


sounds lovely

DonniSharK
February 25th 2011


466 Comments


I loved their first album. How similar is this one? The review makes it sound more like a shoegaze record than post-metal.

wyankeif1337
February 25th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, i haven't heard all of their first but from what i have heard this is very different.

relativeworld
February 25th 2011


289 Comments


Sounds like a must-have before going on an acid-trip !
for sure will get this !


Relinquished
February 25th 2011


25214 Comments


oh man most of the review screams non-professional

FadeToBlack
February 25th 2011


11034 Comments


post rock

not a difficult classification really

relativeworld
February 25th 2011


289 Comments


Hey ! It's great wyankeif ! with dream-pop influences here and there, It sounds kind of spacey . Agree with the highlights.

wyankeif1337
February 25th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Relinquished:
I am of the opinion that not all reviews must be entirely professional, although I can understand why it may annoy some people. I knew this one would turn out that way when I started writing it, though.

@FadetoBlack:
post-rock certainly is the most obvious influence, but there's just something about this that makes me uncomfortable calling it that outright.

Relinquished
February 25th 2011


25214 Comments


ur not gonna go anywhere with that attitude

wyankeif1337
February 25th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, then it's a very good thing that i don't plan on reviewing music for a living.

Photon
February 26th 2011


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds like post rock /Sludge to me

lancebramsay
March 8th 2011


1585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album Highlights:

2/5 of it

^That's funny. But seriously, those two tracks are awesome. Otherwise, good review - pos'd.



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