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The Winstons - The Winstons CD (album) cover

THE WINSTONS

The Winstons

 

Canterbury Scene

3.90 | 89 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Emerging out of nowhere over the last year with a misleading pop-group-sounding name and bizarre eye-catching artwork, the self-titled `The Winstons' is the 2016 debut album of a trio of Italian indie-rock/pop musicians relishing in their love of all things Canterbury scene, early Soft Machine and Robert Wyatt, and perhaps even related groups acts as the Dutch band Supersister, with a welcome dose of early Pink Floyd on the side as well! While the hero worship on display here is somewhat blatant in its influences, the group completely nail the restrained production, anything-goes psychedelic daring, jazzy inclinations and infectious pop smarts of the late sixties/early seventies, making the disc feel like it's truly a lost relic of that era!

Opener `Nicotine Freak' quickly impresses with Wyatt-like dreamily wheezing English vocals over quivering organ and faraway sax before bursting to life with subtle plodding grooves. `Diprotodon' marries manic electric piano and fuzzy `Piper at the Gates of Dawn'-era Pink Floyd-styled organ runs to endlessly pumping runaway horn and sax blasts. Flighty flute, ruminative bass murmurs and a drawled vocal make `Play with the Rebels' a sun-kissed pop tune blessed by the psychedelic gods, fuelled by rattling drum spasms and cutting organ slivers, and the early Floydian-tinged `...On a Dark Cloud' builds eerily on uneasy organ, snappy drum bursts, despondent trumpet drifts and restless vocal desperation that reveals a surprising gothic heaviness before launching into a deeply immersive dark-laced jazzy improvisation (shame about the abrupt fade-out though!).

`She's My Face' is a unashamedly Beatles-influenced psych/pop-rocker, Roberto Dell'era nailing a John Lennon-esque vocal snarl, and his mangled 12-string guitar abuse reminds of the classic early Byrds albums! The smoother verses of `A Reason for Goodbye' could easily have fit on power-popper Matthew Sweet's `In Reverse' disc, but while Lino Gitto's wilder grunting chorus outbursts are somewhat misplaced, the rest of the piece offers a thrashing and uptempo blast of wild honking sax and furiously busy drumming with sublime Fender Rhodes-fuelled races. `Dancing in the Park with a Gun' is playfully jazzy with a sweetly cooing Wyatt-like falsetto vocal that races into a stormy psychedelic vacuum. Instrumental `Viaggio nel Suono a Tre Dimensioni' rumbles with wild grooving acid-rock guitars, tearaway bass and never-ending Hammond organ retro-vibes, `Tarmac' is a seductively doomed piano lament that aches with beauty, and album closer `Number Number' mixes constant buzzing organ with a droning Japanese vocal (yes, really!) in between psych-era Beatles-esque lethargic slurs and a haze of dreamy group voices, all wrapped up with a hint of tasty danger throughout.

More than just a simple `clone' album, full of incredible energy and thrilling playing, `The Winstons' is not only one of the absolute standout Italian discs released over the last twelve months, but simply one of best psych-pop/Canterbury/take-your- pick releases of the year as well, one that will surely feature very highly on plenty of `Best of 2016' lists. Fans of `Volume 1 and 2' of the Soft Machine, early Pink Floyd and the psychedelic experimentation of pop tunes of the era should absolutely make this vinyl-length disc their next essential purchase, and it will be fascinating to see where The Winstons head from here!

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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