Winterpills is not known for radical departures, yet the Hadley, Mass., group digs deeper than ever before on “All My Lovely Goners” (Signature Sounds), the band’s fourth LP.
All the essential elements of the quintet’s sound are intact: hushed vocal harmonies, elegant folk-pop song structures and literary turns of phrase, but the band shows a new, subtly experimental side here, too, on 13 new songs.
“January Rain” is the most obviously adventurous song, with squibs of electric guitar darting among busily errant drums, a pastoral flute weaving in and out. It’s the most outre tune on the record, though the song isn’t the only one to branch out. “Amazing Sky” is an ebullient, chiming pop song full of soaring vocal harmonies and gorgeous cascades of electric guitar from Dennis Crommett; while jittery piano gives way to lush guitars and a blistering solo on “Dying Star.”
Even the songs that hew closer to Winterpills’ more restrained sound are fuller, and singers Philip Price and Flora Reed have never sounded more assured. They invert their harmonies on the rollicking power-pop tune “Rogue Highway,” she turns in her finest lead vocal yet on the aching “The Sun is Alone” and their voices blend into a seamless whole on “Sunspots (Ruins),” which adds layers of guitar, wordless vocals and then horns as it builds to a stunning finish.
Since its self-titled debut in 2005, Winterpills has quietly grown into an essential band. With “All My Lovely Goners,” they’ve made their most essential album.
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