CD Review: The Winter Sounds “Runner”

Songwriter Patrick Keenan has been through a lot over the last few years, starting with living through Hurricane Katrina. Once the hurricane wiped out New Orleans, Keenan had the option to stay put and rebuild or moving out of the area and starting over. Keenan chose option number two and relocated to Atlanta.

Patrick Keenan was part of the band called The Zydepunks while he lived in the New Orleans area. That band came to an end for Keenan when he moved out of the city and once he moved from the New Orleans area to Atlanta, Keenan created a whole new band called The Winter Sounds.

Several years have passed since Patrick Keenan created The Winter Sounds in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Since those days, new band members have joined Keenan and the version of the band that ended up recording the 2006 release Land of No Output has been replaced. Where you once found Gina Asalon, Donovan Babb, Joseph Kass and Tim Lilly, a completely different line-up now joins Patrick Keenan in the band. And with a different line-up comes a different sound; but since Keenan is still the driving force behind the band, it still feels like The Winter Sounds.

The major difference in the music of The Winter Sounds from five years ago and the Nashville-based version of the band that exists under the moniker today is that the keyboards play a much larger role in the sound of the band than they used to. And with that deeper keyboard sound, The Winter Sounds seem to have taken on many aspects of bands from band at the time of the New Wave era of music. It is that deeper New Wave influence now present in the band’s sound that has taken the band’s sound in a more listener-friendly direction. The band has just created a new album that will be released in the next few weeks. The name of the newest release from The Winter Sounds is called Runner.

Runner from The Winter Sounds begins with the track called “The Sun Also Rises”. Taking a large amount of synthesizer and mixing it with a generous amount of guitar, “The Sun Also Rises” is one song on the new release that still embraces the older sound of the band. The band gives the listener just what they want right from the start and the guitar/synthesizer mix in “The Sun Also Rises” creates one of the best tracks on the album.

As if not to allow the energy level to drop off, the second track of “Devils” embraces a New Wave sound that would feel right at home among bands like O.M.D, Depeche Mode, A Flock of Seagulls and many others that made the 80s sound the way it did, musically.

A song that doesn’t even hit three minutes, “Run from the Wicked,” ends up being one of the strongest songs on Runner. The beat and lyrics combine to create a song that could easily be called an “anthem”. The song could easily end up becoming one of the favorites among the fans of The Winter Sounds.

With the song “Shoulders Above,” The Winter Sounds bring the sound of the guitar into the spotlight for one track. And for that track, the band creates a track with enough energy and bounce to get you on your feet looking for the dance floor.

Lying somewhere between Duran Duran and The Pogues, the song “Everything Wounded Comes Home to Die” combines elements of both of those groups to create a very energetic and (strangely enough) upbeat song that have you singing along to the very catchy refrain.

One of the tracks on Runner from The Winter Sounds that really brings out the talent of those involved in creating the album is the song “Robots Marching”. This is perhaps one of the best tracks as far as the music is concerned. The combination of rock music and classical elements creates a song that has a lot of depth to it. The resulting mixture of those elements gives just enough of a hint that you can imagine the song being sung by something not quite human. The lyrics “I came with a plan” really drive home that idea.

Of the releases that make up the discography for The Winter Sounds. 2012’s Runner seems to find the band at its finest point. Each of the twelve songs that make up the album is well-written and nicely played. And with songs that come from slightly different directions throughout the entire length of the release, it is nicely varied. Runner is easily the best album released by The Winter Sounds to date.

 

Click HERE for the official video for "The Sun Also Rises" from the album Runner. Also click HERE for a live performance of "Run From the Wicked".

Check out the website for the band's record label of New Granada Records.

Also check out the website for their publicity firm, XO Publicity.