Today was insane both personally and at work. Now that I’m home, all I really want to do is to crawl into bed and fall asleep to some Shark Week reruns but I know that it’s far too early for that. Usually on a night like this, I would scour calendars for a concert to go to but, since that’s out of the option pool, I figured checking out a new band (or at least new to me) would be the next best thing. I went through my list of of albums to review and was struck by the title of The Winter Passing’s album ‘New Ways of Living’. If that doesn’t describe right now perfectly, I don’t know what phrase does so I hit play, sat back, and let the music take over my house and myself.
The album kicks off with “Ghost Thing” which was not a far cry from the Hawthorne Heights I had been blasting (like I said, it was an exhausting and quite frankly, a trying day). It instantly blasted me into a world of comfort and nostalgia. You could hear clear nods to some of the great emo and pop-punk bands of days gone by but it also felt new and fresh. The back and forth between the male and female vocals on this opening track, and the tracks to come, was striking. A slight accent in the vocals had me curious so I wasn’t shocked to learn that this band is from Ireland but was a bit surprised that I was completely blind to the fact that this music may still be alive and well out there in other countries.
“The Street and Stranger” slows things down a little bit as Kate’s vocals take over. Sweet and playful but with a stern and forceful element to it, I found an over abundance of comfort in her voice. Even when Rob’s voice amps up this track a little bit, there’s still something calming and comforting about this track that hit me in the perfect spot for this evening’s mood. “I feel so much these days… you just have to open your eyes”. The lyrics clearly have me and every other kid that never grew out of our emo stages in mind making this song an instant favorite of mine.
Third up is “Melt” which brings a more indie-pop feeling to the album. Absolutely catchy and completely infectious, again the battle between the two very distinct vocals is a striking feature but Kate’s vocals, which seem to hit a new range, left me completely stunned. The strong and steady instrumentation behind said vocals kept her (and Rob’s voice) in the forefront in the perfect way without being lost in the background. Just when I was falling in love with this new found indie-pop vibe, the band switched to a more grungey feeling for “New York”. It almost reflected the city in the most perfect way. A little more aggressive and all over the place as far as style and intensity goes, the breaks in the vocals give you a chance to catch more of the rest of the band’s hard working instrumentation.
As “Crybaby” kicked off, it instantly reminded me of a mix of New Politics with Paramore. Playful and, again, an impressive show of Kate’s vocal range, this was a song that was stuck on repeat a couple of times before moving on. There is something hopelessly optimistic about this track that makes it completely addicting. The way it transports you out of your head and into a cloud of straight positivity left me speechless and in love. As the album moves onto “Greetings From Tipperary”, I was awaken from the daydream created by “Crybaby” and thrusted into a world where I was forced to face everything going on in my head. A song that poses the question “How can I fix this?”, it was hard to not just sit back and let the words hit me with all of their weight. Note to listeners, this song will absolutely bring feelings rushing over you.
Another song that hit me right in the feelings was “Resist”. Again, the lyrics were just right and seemed to describe what I am currently going through in a painfuly real way and I honestly found myself having to go back and listen again just to be sure I caught all of the words. “Something To Come Home To” was the same way. The lyrics were just so painfully real that I had to listen to this track a couple of times before moving on just to be sure I caught them all. Out of all of the bands I’ve heard lately and all of the bands that claim to nod back to the pop-punk and indie-pop bands of days gone by, The Winter Passing is the first band I’ve heard to really nail it. “Something To Come Home To” ends with a sense of power that I knew was always in The Winter Passing but just never came out. This triumphant ending was powerful both in volume and intensity but also as a statement as Kate’s voice came back in with a soft sing-song sense to it as a final closure for this song. Brilliant song witing right there.
“I Want You” instantly tugged at my heartstrings. Honestly, the reason today has been so insane for me is because of some issues with the guy I’ve been seeing and this song made the tears I had been choking back all day start streaming down my face. Dramatic? Absolutely but when a song has that much power, you know that it’s a good song. Although this song brought a bunch of feelings up for me, it also brought a sense of resilience with it. A sense of power and self-love the way that only music can create, The Winter Passing may be a new band to me but this song made me feel like I’ve known this band for years and that they have been a constant shoulder to cry on.
Closing this amazing album is “Mind Yourself”, a calming and drifting song that brings a sense of closure to this album while still making you want to go back and listen to the whole thing again. The waves of sound in this track are monumental and it seems to span a variety of feelings and vibes with undeniable ease. A perfect closing song to a perfect album, The Winter Passing is my new favorite group. There, I said it.
I’ve reviewed a lot of albums and have a lot more to go but I am comfortable is saying that ‘New Ways of Living’ by The Winter Passing is going to be one that sticks with me for the long term. What an amazing album from a great band. I am already planning on spending the rest of my week digging into their discography instead of watching my Shark Week reruns.
My Favorite Track(s): “The Street and Stranger”; “Greetings From Tipperary”
For Fans Of: Old School Pop-Punk; Feelings; Words that Hit Way Too Close To Home
Nostalgia-ability: 9.6 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie ate dinner; Autumn slept right next to me on my desk
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 10 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
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Listen to ‘The New Ways of Living’ Here!
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