Windsor For The Derby

How We Lost

Tampa, Florida outfit Windsor for the Derby must occasionally feel like they’re rather out of time and place. For a while in the late nineties, however foolish it might seem now, it appeared that the church of rock had suffered an irreparable schism between nü-metal and post-rock, a genre mysteriously born after people started listening to Slint albums. Windsor for the Derby, of course, belonged to the latter wing, releasing quietly acclaimed albums such as Calm Hades Float, Minnie Greunzfeldt and Difference and Repetition as the decade wore on. Yet although they might have faded from view as they scaled back to just two core members, they’ve continued to persevere in their own quiet way.

It’s common to read a mention of a group, hear about a member’s solo or side project and suddenly think “Yeah, what DID happen to them,” only to discover they’ve been recording and releasing all the while, thanks very much. In a time of overwhelming media saturation, this is the baseline, not the exception – to think otherwise is to flatter oneself.

And so, How We Lost seems to be almost too fitting a title, a final admission of surrender to a babbling rabble that no longer cares. Indeed, this is something also echoed in more than a few of the song titles " ’Maladies’, ‘Spirit Fade’, and so on. So it’s both comforting and surprising to hear the low tones and steady drumming on the opening ’Let Go’, pause to scratch one’s chin, and then realise that the singing is sweetly beautiful. Similarly, it’s great to hear a song like ’Maladies’ that invokes the mantle of Joy Division but doesn’t sound like freakin’ Interpol at all. Windsor For The Derby continue to explore the now decade-old sounds for which they were first known " the motorik rhythms and Beach Boys harmonies on ’Hold On’, the serene post-shoegaze glimmer on ’Good Things’. That these might be considered in some circles to be passé in 2008 can only make them better.

It’s suddenly and appropriately gratifying to hear a band so removed from the suffocating context of one time to sound different in another. The pageantry of whatever indie rock is supposed to be these days all too often crashes in as a deluge of hyperbole, when it’s rather merely a revolution in a cycle that’ll inevitably pass its course. Windsor for the Derby, by contrast, can perform a gently sparkling song like ’Fallen Off the Earth’, and sound genuinely happy to be there.

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