Winter ’15 isn’t so much a band’s release as it is a monumental landmark for a musical project that has been gathering momentum over states, countries and years. Analog Candle, a deft nod to the album Neon Bible by Arcade Fire, is the project of musical mastermind Callum Plews who has combined the talents and inputs from a variety of musicians of different talents and backgrounds across the world.
The result of this is that Analog Candle has produced the hauntingly beautiful four-track EP Winter ’15, an almost ethereal and melodic collection of songs that swirl together an ever increasing surge of musical influence that bubbles and churns behind their deep and tender lyrics. Despite being primarily driven by electronic music, this dramatic collection of musical instruments melds together to totally defy anything even close to a genre. Traces of rock, pop, indie and folk can be heard clearly while in other areas, floods of smooth jazz saxophone fill the air. It all combines to make a strange, delightful and heady cocktail of sounds that make for a totally unique listening experience.
Standing far above this peculiar mix however are the charming, charismatic and tender vocals employed thoughout. At times they sound akin to the likes of Kimya Dawson but somewhat softer. Plews himself has stated that the project is experimental and deals with a particularly dark time in his life where he was dealing with life in a new city as well as a failing relationship. These pains are somewhat universal and the EP is rife with deep and pained lyrics that can echo through any heart.
The music that surrounds these haunting words feels as if it is alive; as if it is writhing, growing and evolving with each and every note. But despite all this, it is still totally secondary to the lyrics that paint a series of pictures for us. It’s a gloriously and finely honed series of songs that still retain a raw element that makes them feel rough around the edges. There is something almost theatrical about it, while the lyrics are the main event the music plays out like a dramatic backdrop on stage.
The payoff of all of this hard work is that Winter ’15 has formed as a chilling and yet alarmingly uplifting EP that crafts its own niche in the market. It’s taciturn elements deal with something cold and harsh in a warmly comforting way as pain is shared through sound. As the stories and the sounds surround you, you find yourself not wanting it to end so soon but closing with the almost ethereal Space Dreams of You Too it feels less like closing with a song than it does a season finale that hints that this project is far from over.
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Review by Joe Knipe