Vancouver Sleep Clinic
Winter


5.0
classic

Review

by RuanCSC USER (6 Reviews)
May 2nd, 2014 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Justin Vernon's best disciple.

When you hear about talented teenage artists from Oceania, the first name that comes to your mind is probably Ella Yelich-O'Connor. But it turns out that thoughtful pop music isn't the only type of music the boys and girls from that continent are making, as listening to this recently released EP will soon show. Eighteen-year-old Australian Tim Bettinson (seventeen when the EP was recorded) makes airy, cold music that vividly resembles Justin Vernon's second album as Bon Iver. The obvious similarities between the two are the falsetto vocals and the distant, ethereal synthesizers, but it is a big mistake to assume that Winter is only a cheap imitation. There are many traces of individualism and personality here, and the six beautiful tracks that make up this EP are the solid beginning of a real musical career.

One thing is for certain, though: if you've enjoyed Bon Iver, Bon Iver, you will probably like this EP as well, and the opposite is also true. But a careful listen will reveal subtle, important differences. The Australian artist's work owes a lot more to pop music than the American's, as the slow but constant drumming in tracks such as "Collapse" and "Rebirth" are quick to prove. Also, Tim Bettinson's lyrics give less importance to mystery than Justin's. The name Vancouver Sleep Clinic immediately evokes thoughts of long winters and white landscapes, and so do the words sung in this beautiful EP. But even in spite of their bigger specificity, they never even get close to succumbing to foolishness. On the contrary, they are intelligent and get their points across without the necessity of obviousness. Like many young artists who welcome the influence of pop on their musical work, Tim sings about love. Clearly there's nothing wrong with that, especially considering the way it's done here. "In my skin, I'm lost / Tangled in the bones of this love / Melting to the flow of your blood", he sings.

It is also worthy of mention that Bettinson's music is not fond of minimalism. There is always an evolution on course; the tracks never end the same way they began. The first songs he ever recorded, "Collapse" and "Vapour", increase their velocities as they run their lenghts and the growth of "Stakes" and "Rebirth" is jaw-dropping, particularly the latter's. It begins with slow guitar notes that are quickly accompanied by this and then that instrument and in the end you have a brilliant, complex track that stands out from the other five standouts. There is also an interlude in the EP. Now, if you're a young artist who are releasing your first recorded work that is only going to have six tracks, you put a minute-and-half interlude in there only if you're goddamn sure that what you have is good. Tim seems to be sure, and he's right to be. Winter is beautiful, it is cohesive and, more importantly than all that, it is impressive. Not just because of its climaxes and its serene "explosions" -that too- but because of how conclusive it is. There are no loose ends that need to be tied, there are no sharp edges that need to be polished. It is here, it is finished, and it is flawless.

My exaggerations aside, Winter is worth everyone's time. The comparisons with Bon Iver are inevitable, but if you can, leave them aside while listening. Tim Bettinson is a boy with personality and his work is strong enough to stand on its own feet. Although making music in very different genres, he and his fellow Oceanic young musician Lorde share another common trait: their works are almost unimaginably good for their ages, and they are sure to impress attentive ears. Tim Bettinson is very likely to soon become a force to be reckoned with. This EP already is.



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user ratings (18)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
RuanCSC
May 2nd 2014


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I haven't written a review in a very long time. But I just had to when I heard this. Let me know what you guys think.

TheCakeIsALie
May 2nd 2014


57 Comments


Great review mate! I dig the hyperbolic comments on the conclusive climaxes. Gonna check this out. Pos'd

RuanCSC
May 2nd 2014


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you! And do listen to the EP, it is beautiful.

YourDarkAffected
May 2nd 2014


1870 Comments


Sweet review. Will check this out. Also, on my phone it looked like the yellow logo on album cover was a Simpsons character.

YourDarkAffected
May 2nd 2014


1870 Comments


Rebirth is so good.

silentstar
May 2nd 2014


2528 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

damn, nice to see a review for this: pos'd



really like his music but sounds a bit too much like Bon Iver, haha



also, that clicking sound in Flaws will be the death of me

ZombicidalMan
May 2nd 2014


2476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah I can't get over how much he sounds like Bon Iver either. it's well done and there are clear differences but most of the time it feels unoriginal

RuanCSC
May 3rd 2014


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I understand what you all mean, and everything you've said makes perfect sense, but I still absolutely love it. I just find myself unable to care about any of that when I hear it. I haven't been this impressed by an album in a while.

silentstar
May 3rd 2014


2528 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

fair enough *a smiley in text since sputnik doesn't like smileys*



there have often been times when I liked something so much I disregard being critical about it at all (mainly referring to games but music comes up once in a while).



this ep is really pretty and endearing in sound, so I can definitely see the attachment

Aids
December 3rd 2014


24512 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is a pretty unabashed rip-off



I mean, if you're gonna be a rip-off, Justin Vernon is a good source of inspiration, but there's not a lot of originality here. I really like the record but this factor holds it back from being a 4 or higher, for me. Really nice listen though.

Sowing
Moderator
March 31st 2017


43960 Comments


Someone to Stay from the upcoming record is so, so good.



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