matinée 024 / March 2001
- When It Was Winter
- Pounds Shillings & Pence
- Snow White
- Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish
Excellent follow-up to last year's popular "Drug Autumn" single and their second seasonal-themed release finds this English quartet in prime form. Four exclusive tracks include the sublime "When It Was Winter," pairing guitars with haunting keyboards to produce a serious contender for the band's strongest song to date. Jangling guitars and diverse percussion shine on "Pounds Shillings & Pence," "Snow White," and "Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish" to round out the EP. Unrestrained melodies, crisp guitars, and sincere vocals make this perfect for fans of the Go Betweens, Weather Prophets, Bodines, or Jazz Butcher.
Also on Matinee, the new EP from The Windmills shows more than ever that here is a band who have been listening closely to their East Village records. Which is to be applauded of course. And which in fact is to do The Windmills a disservice because the four tracks on their ‘When It Was Winter’ EP fuse a fine penchant for minor chords (okay, I THINK it is minor chords; I know nothing about music, but I think that’s what a I mean. I mean the ones that go shimmying up and down your spine like a dark bruise…) and a tension that might be akin to that felt by the great Last Party, or Hellfire Sermons even, at their most melodic and least abrasive.
Windmills lead singer Roy Thirlwall is a vocal dead ringer for old Suedehead himself, Morrissey. For this British quartet’s second single, Thirlwall wraps his brassy croon around four deliciously shimmering slices of pure pop. He proves he’s got Moz’s laid-back delivery down pat on the bouncy "Snow White", while "Pounds Shillings & Pence" revels in the same understated glory that marked Felt’s finer moments. Although When It Was Winter is unlikely to bring them mass adoration on a par with Coldplay or the Doves, its decidedly British demeanor and propensity for jangly, minor key musings should curry the group some favor with the more adventurous faction of the anglophile crowd, not to mention confused Smiths fans. --Splendid
As someone who has a strong aversion to the summer and sunshine (which I am currently soaked in) I will quite happily reminisce on those cold but cosy months which last for about eleven months of the year. The Windmills it seems are quite happy to join me in doing so. I am in fact new to the world of The Windmills, but I can tell you that they make bona fide jangle pop for you to lap up affectionately. The title track, aside from on the surface being a paean to the joys of winter, is complemented by the chocolate rich yet flawed vocals of Roy Thirlwall, and of course those all important, jangly guitars. “Pounds shillings and pence” is a little more melodious, although sadly has nothing to do with those carefree, pre-decimalisation days. Instead, as with all of the tracks on the EP, it conveys a clear story or message – this seems to be, most simply, about telling someone to, er, get lost. “Snow White” however, is vaguely surreal, with Mr Thirlwall regaling us with a tale about all those wonderful learning experiences as we grow up by using his height as markers along the way. For example, “When I was four feet four…so much to lose” and so on until we reach the giddy heights of five feet ten. The final track “Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish” sees The Windmills display even more sincerity and honesty, with a side helping of polite venom; as demonstrated through lyrics such as “I never liked you much anyway / It’s so much better when you’re not here” – which is exactly the kind of thing you’d love to say to someone but are probably too scared too; well if you’re particularly submissive. All in all then, “When it was Winter” whilst not being strikingly spectacular is, for its witty honesty alone, rather endearing and will undoubtedly delight all jangle-pop-picking-purists. --Pennyblack Magazine
More great pop songs from the Windmills, even though it's a bit late (I couldn't bear to listen to songs about winter now!). Four very nice jangly pop songs that I like even better than the last single! What I wonder about this band, though, is why are they so prolific all of a sudden? They release one amazing single over ten years ago, then disappear, then suddenly reappear and release two singles & an lp (two more eps, counting the Melodie Group, their alter-ego), and have more on the way? MTQ=4/4 --IndiePages
the windmills next. roy thirlwall's vocal is a joy - a kind of syphon which sprinkles wry, deep lyrics to taste over the group's neat, stylish (think milan '94) backing in four more inoffensive, gently affecting pop constructions. "when it was winter", to me, benefits from sounding more like [his alter ego the] melodie group's laid back, laconic songwriting rather than the shallower glaze of the windmills' last effort, the "drug autumn" ep, on the same label. most suited to thirlwall's almost casually acerbic tone is the final song "good riddance to bad rubbish", a hymn of hate which, like the best such paeans, relies not on distortion or noise but guitars melodic and timid enough that even lines as hackneyed as "i never really liked you anyway " can emerge with unusual clarity. --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
Not sure if these songs were recorded during the same time as last year’s Drug Autumn (and right now I’m too tired to go over and get my copy of said cd out). The band is a 4-piece led by Roy Thirlwall who seems to have a bit of a Robert Forster fix while the rest of the band zips out his tunes with nimble bass playing and a solid rhythm section. Four solid songs in the Go-Betweens vein. I sit back and continue to watch Matinée Records crank out record after solid record. --Dagger