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The Winstons - The Winstons CD (album) cover

THE WINSTONS

The Winstons

 

Canterbury Scene

3.92 | 81 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars Don't even think that this version of THE WINSTONS is the American funk and soul band that scored a top 10 hit way back in 1969. This band of the same name may SOUND like they've been sent here through a time machine from the past but they are in reality a contemporary animistic assembly of like minded individuals adamantly and unapologetically putting the CAN back in the Canterbury Scene by channeling the classics of the past while whipping up the whimsey, rousing the zeitgeists of the jazz-rock rabble and simultaneously sewing the different seeds of the 60s together into so far unforeseen ways thus proving (along with a few other contemporaries such as Amoeba Split) that the classic sounds of Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, Gong and Caravan have long since left the jurisdiction of the River Stour in the English historic cathedral city and has in this case possessed three indie rock Italians from the modern metropolis of Milan. This power trio are all multi-instrumentalists going by the pseudonyms of Linnon Winston (Lino Gitto - vocals, organ, drums), Rob Winston (Roberto Dell'Era - vocals, bass) and Enro Winston (Enrico Gabrielli - organ, sax, bass clarinet, electric piano) but there is also a fourth guest musician: Roberto D'Azzan who brings some mean trumpet to this party!

Let the raucousness commence! As it all begins as an early Soft Machine reference with Robert Wyatt intonations then quickly leads to an organ drone with a sultry sax seeping in. Soon thereafter the organs are joined by the bass and it's party time! A beefy brash bass bellows out a grooviliscious pop hook with a Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd keyboard run that screams 1967 and the Summer Of Love with Soft Machine harmonies creating a melodious cantabile and oh yeah! Did i mention that organ? Perhaps the strongest instrument on board doubling as a time machine to the swinging 60s. This is a pure Canterbury tribute on this one with healthy doses of 60s psychedelic and garage rock all dancing happily together around the campfire with visions of paisley and tie-dye along for the ride. I can smell the patchouli! This is some serious retro-prog let loose and it's utterly amazing how this self-titled debut by THE WINSTONS gives nary a clue to the true time and date when this was released a mere five decades later in 2016.

While the two starters are hellbent on psychedelic 60s cross-pollinating with all things Canterbury Scene, the beauty of this album is how different the ten tracks laid out are from one another. "Play With The Rebels" brings more of a Procal Harum vibe to the mix while "...On A Dark Cloud" eschews the short song norm of the album for a longer more jam based psychedelic freakout frenzy. Once again the organs debut the oscillating rhythm while the bass picks up allowing the trumpet to add a slight Mariachi feel to the mix. And this just wouldn't be a proper Canterbury Scene genre inclusion if it didn't contain ample amounts of whacked out whimsy and adroit crapulous quirkiness. The first noticeable head scratching moment comes from the two tracks written and sung in the Japanese language. "カンガルー目 (Diprotodon)" and "番号番号 (Number Number)" were in fact written and by Gun Kawamura who also created the mondo bizarro album cover artwork and with hysterically named tracks such as "She's My Face" and "Dancing In The Park With A Gun," you can almost taste a Daevid Allen seal of approval.

While nostalgic purists may find this album in bad taste and too derivative of sacred cows, i find THE WINSTONS to take many puzzle pieces of the past and simply place these elements side by side in fresh creative ways. The Canterbury Scene is amongst progressive rocks greatest treasure trove of musical gems and oft cited as one of true prog lover's most beloved subgenres, therefore it seems quite the shame that this particular quirkily subset of jazzy rock has nearly gone extinct in recent decades. THE WINSTONS prove beyond a doubt that it is indeed possible to pay tribute to all the greats who came before and still come up with new ways of breathing some resuscitated life into the oldies but goodies. Brash and daring yet respectful and reverent. Despite not being English themselves, THE WINSTONS achieve in going to where even native Brits have gone over the years in faithfully capturing all those wonderful sounds that erupted in the 1960s UK without missing a beat.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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