|The Winter Blanket |
Had I received this album in mid-July, it would have surely found its places in the FREE FOR FRIENDS section of my apartment. However, seeing that the leaves are either yellow or completely dead and my scarf collection is getting a wicked workout, The Winter Blanket's latest album Prescription Perils is one album you have to hear this winter.
Slow, gentle, and laced with banjo and cello, this album is the natural result of years of musical patience, combined with evening upon evening of organic teas and late-night cry sessions. Beautifully packaged with minimal artwork, this band is one of those rare bands that prefers to exist underneath the glow of hypercapitalism. Their songs don't break any new ground, they lack drum solos and Caribbean beats, but this shedding of any such flare is what makes their work so honest and pure.
Vocals alternate between Doug Miller and Stephanie Davila.
Davila takes cues from most female singers a la Cat Power, but with such great guitar work and low-toned cello behind her, her voice is eerie and haunting; Miller's voice, in lack of a better word, is simple but effective. He doesn't try to bring his voice where he knows it can't go. He's accepted his limits and there's a graciousness to that.
Opener ‘Four Tornadoes' is the hardest hitting song on the album and in all honesty, it still puzzles me why such a soft band would open their album with this, the most rocking song on the album. The Bruce Springsteen cover of "Darkness on the Edge of Town" could have easily made its way onto any Springsteen tribute album. It has all the grace and simplicity of Nebraska-era Springsteen, complete with a simple guitar melody. In all her songs, Davila's subdued voice has what it takes to SHHHSHH someone if they talk during one of her songs.
When the snow really begins to fall in Minnesota, drive out to one of the more rural places and look closely in the foggy window of an old farm house and perhaps you'll see members of The Winter Blanket huddled around some candles with a roaring fire providing some great lighting, and put your ear to the ground because you may just have the inside scoop on their new album, which if this one is any indication, will be yet another keeper.
- Darren Susin | 2005-02-13
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