It was a bit of a surprise to have this album appear for a Flyin’ Shoes review, but I guess the front page says we do power pop, too, so here goes.
Winter are a Swedish band fronted by AnnaLena Winter, who also wrote all the songs (in English) for this, their fourth album. With something new I’m always trying to hear where a musician’s coming from, what they’ve been listening to that has inspired them to produce what I’m hearing. Because I was trying to find the country angle it took a while to recognise that first and foremost she’s sounding like she’s the direct heir of Roxette and The Cardigans, and if that’s not power pop, I’m not sure what is. If those bands represent the kind of benchmark that Winter are reaching for, I’d have to say they’re pretty much there; these are strong pop songs, inconsequentially about falling in love but full of singable hooks and meaty guitar band arrangements. She’s got a really strong voice; the album’s closing song is sung over a simple piano accompaniment and works quite as well as the rockier songs where the edge and the character in her voice come over strongly through the guitars.
There’s the occasional hint of country influence coming through; a bit of slide guitar here and there and sometimes a bit of pedal steel sound-alike, though not actually pedal steel, I think. The most directly countryish thing here is Book Of Love which sounds as close as it possibly could to being an Eliza Gilkyson song – including AnnaLena’a vocal performance, which captures Ms Gilkyson’s style all but exactly. Another song, A Minute Away, is in similar vein and very pleasantly languid in mood. The band are great – very solid rhythms and inventive guitar work make for satisfying listening, whilst the production is spot-on, being very clear and resisting any temptation to be too clever.
t’s definitely a ‘grower’ of an album, this one, from a high quality pop band; I think they’re doing the festival circuit a bit this summer and this is music for that sort of environment – bright, tuneful and feel-good.