THE SPLIT release has a long tradition within independent and alternative music, going back to at least the early 1980s. This particular incarnation of the format, released through Out On A Limb Records and the Popical Island lable finds Limerick’s windings sharing space with Dublin’s Land Lovers.
Windings initially began as the solo side-project of Steve Ryan while he was still one-half of the punk/hardcore duo Giveamanakick.
While that band played some of the most ferocious (and best) music of its kind ever made in Ireland, early windings explored a more melodic, singer-songwriter, side to Steve. The project eventually became a duo, before morphing into a fully fledged band who saw their album I Am Not The Crow shortlisted for the 2012 Choice Music Prize.
Since those early days the windings’ sound has evolved into something more varied and sophisticated, with an unapologetic commitment to indie/alternative rock values, and a balancing between Steve’s love of melody and his love of a distortion pedal turned on and volume turned up high.
These qualities are seen across the four songs that make up the band’s contribution here, but arguably opening track ‘Bladerubber’, with its slow, menacing, feel, and eerie guitar lines; and the Dinosaur Jr-esque ‘Bang Bang Normal Man’ which contrasts a hefty, classic rock riffage, with languid verses, are best. Neither song should be omitted for the next windings album. A good taster then of where the band is going?
If windings are moody, Land Lovers are positively chirpy, bursting out of the speakers, brim full of optimism and pop melodies, kind of like an Irish Monkees reimagined as a cult indie band. ‘Vittima Di Cucina’ is ridiculously catchy and energetic, ‘Close Embrace’ displays old-style, classic pop sensibilities, while ‘Matilda’ matches melody with a muscle. It’s very Popical Island, and you wouldn’t want it any other way.
The 11-track album is untitled and available on 12” vinyl. Listen here to the album in full: