Wintercoats – Sketches EP

The new EP from Ballarat bred Wintercoats is nothing short of incredible. Multi-instrumentalist James Wallace mixes intricate orchestral arrangements with a pop sensibility that amazes on his new effort Sketches. In Sketches Wallace uses a combination of glockenspiel, piano, violin, softly sweeping voices, various loops and a number of other instruments. It is remarkable how easily he intertwines and uses the various instruments, particularly as they layer on top of each other. He often continues to introduce new melodic lines all the way through the song without making it feel cluttered; ‘Working On A Dream’ is a particularly good example of this. The whole atmosphere from this EP is extremely cinematic. In the vein of Explosions in the Sky, MONO and even Mogwai, listening to Wintercoats leaves you with a feeling of being through an expansive film clip or movie. The nature of the music feels like it moves you from place to place.  With the layering of each track Wallace creates eerie atmospheric sounds without alienating the listener. The individual parts don’t sound overly complex, but it’s how they’re arranged that truly makes the difference and separates Wintercoats from other bands. The attention to detail certainly stands out when listening to these pieces of music. “Blood Prints” is a fantastic example of how Wintercoats mixes those atmospheric percussive loops with melodic piano and bass lines. It also features those sweeping vocals that while they are covered in reverb still remain in your head far after the song has finished. In “Windmill” there are only a handful of musical ideas that feature and they repeat throughout, most notably the trill of the violin. Despite the repetition of these melodies and atmospheric sounds it flows seamlessly from start to finish. Sometimes people refer to the immediacy of a record or song, which can mean it’s immediately catchy. There is certainly catchiness to these tunes, but they demand more respect than that. Taking the time to truly listen to Sketches from start to finish will not leave you disappointed and will definitely see the play count rise on a daily Gabe Andrews

October 10th 2011
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