WINDSHAKEAlbum Review

WINDSHAKE: Waking Moment  (847842 Records DK

Digital/CD

Out 10 December 2021

Debut album from modestly labelled ‘psychedelic-folk-rock band based in Bristol’. Ged Babey hears a lot of potential and song-craftsmanship amongst the prog and psych weirdness.

I gave up predicting the Next Big Thing in the world of popular music twenty six years ago when the people chose the Gallaghers instead of any number of superior bands…

When Coldplay and Keane were commercial success stories and the public got what the public wanted I went underground and gave up following music with mass-appeal.

That said:  WINDSHAKE are going to be massive. They are a commercial proposition – Not in an obvious, deliberate way, but by virtue of great song-writing and an odd Englishness. They will appeal to lots of people, across the board.

‘That sounds good’ said my wife overhearing a minute or so of one of their songs. Normally it’s a request to ‘turn that down’.

This is not my kind of music. I think the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Radiohead are massively over-rated and the weight of their myth and pompousness of their fans detracts from the quality of a small proportion of their music.

I have also never understood why a lot of young artists make such ‘middle-aged’ music. Slow-paced, soul-searching stuff, dripping with melody and melancholy…. Why aren’t they full of rage and frenetic energy?   Another reason that I should dislike WINDSHAKE.

If everyone who eulogised the tedious Beatles Get Back yawn-athon actually cared about the future of music instead of it’s past, they should get hold of Waking Moment and make this band the massive success they deserve to be. It really is a future classic. Timeless, melodic, curious songs performed with a maturity and elegance. Windshake make graceful folk-psychedelia but basically it’s just great pop music.

There are noticeable influences needless to say but its singer Sam Elliotts voice which goes from Thom Yorke style croon, Bolan warble to full-throated holler, which pulls you in. And the harmonies.  The lyrics are strange and curious…  ‘space travels in my blood’ style… and Elliot has the pale complexion and tumbling brown hair-style of Nick Drake.

I’m like a craft flying through space / but you won’t see me as I leave no trace / You can stare out your window for hours on end / and maybe my signal will successfully send / But if it don’t that’s the way things go

The music video for Receive Me they described as “Rene Magritte meets Monty Python and an encounter Peter Clifton on the way? Directed by Jamie Panton.” The song contains “mellotrons, pianos, 12 string, lap steel, eBow, seas of vocal harmonies… What more could you want?”

‘Complete with Alan Watts t shirt!’ said a Bristol hippy friend of mine, impressed. ( I had to google him…)

Eleven songs spread over a full hour there is a lot in there.

Dylan-ish moments, prog work-outs and a Kinksy number which feels a bit throwaway.

Auditory Hallucinations is the self-explanatory epic centrepiece – with it’s fairground psych, flickers of dialogue. lysergic lyricism and slide-guitar.

Independent Stones has some beautifully sustained guitar but is a bit ‘baggy’ rhythm wise.

The nine minute title track out-stays its welcome to my mind and the three previously released songs. which they’ve made videos for, are the stand-outs.

The lyrics are extravagant conundrums: My remains will stay awake till they have to begin / A solid life of eternity… Yeah maan.

There are two paths stretching before WINDSHAKE: one way leads to Coldplay/Muse type commercial success and the other Marillion-like cultdom.  Hopefully they can find good management and navigate a route midway between the two.

One thing is for sure, there is some really great moments on this album.  Classic Rock for an Age Yet To Come that you really should hear now, rather than on a retrospective in twenty years time.

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All words  Ged Babey

 

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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.

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