THE WINCHESTER CLUB (Negative Liberty) LP/CD
Well, actually my interest in post-rock is very low. This is probably because I'm an old-fashioned guy who grew up with punk, hardrock, blues and metal. I'm a sucker for strong melodies, energy and powerful riffs. But that doesn't mean that I walk through the world of music with ideological blinkers and there are only a few musical genres that I despise. Thus, I was anxious to listen to the second album from THE WINCHESTER CLUB that has been released by Exile On Mainstream Records at the end of February 2011. THE WINCHESTER CLUB was formed in 1999 and consists of (ex-)members from End Of Level Boss, but the music goes in a completely different direction. You're right - it's post-rock. 'Negative Liberty' is their second record, but for me it's the first encounter with this London-based band.
Despite my reservations that I mentioned at the beginning, I must admit that THE WINCHESTER CLUB have managed to captivate me with their dark web of sounds. Unfortunately, I don't know the BBC documentation 'The Trap', because that is the basis for 'Negative Liberty'. But this album aroused my interest in the docu and I have to check it out. With the exception of a few vocal samples, all five tracks are instrumental. The first four songs are epic with pleasant repetition, which allows them time to breathe and become ambient-like. Even when the two basses as well as the guitars appear, the effect is more ambient than percussive. In doing this, they demonstrate that you can play psych-tinged music without morphing into a 1960s/1970s retro band. But the psychedelic influences in their songs are very subtle and they do blend in nicely with the band's densely layered sound. The prickly, fragile nature of THE WINCHESTER CLUB's quieter moments, interwoven with some the-world-is-ending sonic rumblings also pleased me very much.
Due to the concept behind 'Negative Liberty', the music stimulates for reflections and you can easily drown yourself in this pool of melancholy. It's hard to pick a favorite song. Everything tends to blur together into one huge song, but I do not mean this negatively. Therefore, I recommend to listen to this album without a break, because it is the only way for the music to unfold its intensity. 'Negative Liberty' is a heavily sedated yet dynamic ride through the peaks and valleys of the madness and sadness of mankind. In that way it reflects life, but fortunately the music never descends into cheesy self-pity or melodrama. It demonstrates, with depressing sobriety and enormous clarity, that we find ourselves slipping into our own destiny. Apart from that, THE WINCHESTER CLUB will astound you with their musical variety and ingenuity.