It’s always gratifying to see a new band come along that are serious about what they’re doing and aren’t just winging it. They may have a whole bunch of influences vying for attention in a sound you could loosely describe as post-hardcore, but UK three-piece Winchester have got the riffs, the songs and the talent to put together their own eclectic take on modern alternative rock.
It is clear from the atmospheric opening to ‘Life Begins’ that this is a record to be taken seriously. By the time the plaintive vocal has been shot down by a searing riff that twists inside itself, it’s clear they mean business. We are talking about a well-arranged tune with multiple textures that sets an engagingly attacking tone for the rest of the record.
Despite the aggressive overtone, they still boast something of a commercial edge; ‘Diamond’, for instance, boasts a smooth ear-friendly chorus, while sacrificing none of their harder edges. There are more attacking riffs on tracks like ‘Animal’, the slow boiling ‘Problem’ and the Korn-esque ‘Line Up’. Again, they nail the killer hooks, especially on ‘Line Up’, which is an obvious circle pit filler, despite dropping an introspective mid-section before soaring to an epic climax. It’s a prime example of the band’s versatility and classy songwriting.
They show off serious musical chops on the instrumental ‘At These’; its sinister chimes give way to a pulsating bass line and staccato riffing that grows into a massive wall of sound. It helps balance the record between the heavier tracks and emotive numbers like ‘Safe in Sound’ and the more reflective ‘Set Me Apart’. Although the slightly disjointed ‘Dead Ends’ is a little bland by comparison to other tracks, it takes an interesting instrumental turn at about halfway to finish the album on a strong note.
The overall result is pretty damn satisfying, as what you have here is a seriously talented band with some excellently worked songs that not only sound current but have the band’s own stamp. Great record.
‘Life Begins at These Dead Ends’ by Winchester is released on February 9th
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)