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What Kind Of Blue Are You? Aug Stone , October 17th, 2022 09:01

There's more to Winter's latest than early 90s nostalgia, finds Aug Stone

One could not be faulted for believing this is a recently rediscovered album from 1993. Echoes of My Bloody Valentine, Throwing Muses, The Breeders, Magnapop, Swervedriver, Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, and a host of other such bands are constantly vying to remind the ear of that particular musical period. This is by no means a bad thing, though such comparisons miss the whole picture. Frequently gorgeous, at turns narcotic or cathartic-sounding, it is Samira Winter’s own ethereal world, where shimmering swirls and heavenly hooks abound. It would be almost impossible to overstate how dreamy this record is.

Of immediate note is that ‘Atonement’ is a pop gem. A playful yet insistent bassline, front and centre, dominates the track until the vocals come in, a two-line refrain of “where did you go? I wanna feel you”. Catchy. As. Fuck. This tune sees Winter partnering up with Hatchie, who also mines this stylistic vein very successfully. It makes perfect sense the two should work together, even better that this does that rare trick of fulfilling the promise imagined by such a collaboration. The danger here is that with something this good, it can easily overshadow the rest of the record. So be sure to give yourself time to go back and explore. The same can be said for the lyrics. While the vocals are mellifluous indeed, the words themselves have a tendency to stay within the sonic expanse rather than emerge from it.

Winter could have easily been performing album opener, ‘Wish I Knew’, at the Bang Bang Bar while the credits rolled over an episode of Twin Peaks: The Return. ‘Sunday’ performs the trick of evoking a rainy morning spent in bed until the beat kicks in and brings you outside strolling the city streets, merging the two states more and more as the song goes on. A nice little chord change at 3:18 too. ‘Crimson Enclosure’ is perhaps the most shoegazey thing on the album, with a lovely little ascending vocal melody in the verse.

Winter has been no stranger to synths throughout her career, and although they largely take a backseat on What Kind Of Blue Are You?, they are a main ingredient on ‘Lose You’. Another highlight of the record, gorgeous, especially the last note of each vocal line. ‘Mr. On My Mind’’s narrative is crystal clear, making the case yet again that Samira Winter can sure write a hook.

Speaking of references, the album title seems an obvious one to Miles Davis, but the music emphatically makes the case that this could in no way be true. Rounding off the record, the title track is a triumphant I–IV progression over motorik drumming that sails off high into the pop skyline.

If you like dreampop, chances are high you’ll dig What Kind Of Blue Are You? As the crowning achievement of Winter’s fuzzy, fizzing output thus far, it makes a great introduction for newcomers, as well as a welcome addition to the canon for longtime fans.