Potential. It’s what a lot of your favorite indie bands show glimpses of, but never quite realize. This is the gist of The Winter Sound’s third album “Runner.” It never quite puts you over the top, but it definitely gets you excited for what this band can do in the future. Their musical style might best be described as a keen blend of Arcade Fire and The Killers. Showcasing a combination of new-wave danceability and rootsy folk, The Winter Sounds exhibits a new strain of music that only makes them all the more fascinating.
The album opens with arguably its strongest track, “The Sun Also Rises,” which also takes its name from the Ernest Hemingway novel. Lead singer Patrick Keenan croons, “I wanna look you in the eyes, say everything’s okay / and if I can’t what good am I, what am I gonna say,” over steady, catchy synths that build to a swell as his voice makes an earnest endeavor to cry out about how small one feels in comparison to the world. Soaring violins add musicality that is present throughout and unique to the album.
The next track “Devils” is sure to be a crowd favorite with its catchy “whoa-oh”s, and carries along the album’s strong start. The upbeat tone in “Run from the Wicked” belies its rumination on self-pity—“a lifetime in a fog / with yourself to blame,” while accompanied by powerful backup vocals from the other band members. The album closer, “Carousel,” is a sentimental number that thematically takes love and lassitude into perspective; it’s the sign of a road weary, well-traveled band.
There is an unfortunate tendency for repetition and similarity amongst some tracks that make them blur together at times; however, the overall vibe of gravity and love of craft can be felt throughout “Runner.” The Winter Sounds claims to have played 500 shows over the last five years, and it can certainly be inferred that music is their passion. Hopeful glimpses of greatness help roll over the sometimes redundant harmonies the album presents. You can expect big things from this band in the future.
Rating: 3.25 stars