Andy Lund, David Rosenheim, Matt Glick, Ron Cruz, Kirk Snedeker, and Amanda Guilbeaux make up the Oakland, California, outfit known as Winchester Revival. They describe themselves as a super-group of sorts, comprised of artists from several different bands -- bands that after each respective project faded out, the remains were brought together to form a cocktail of talent and spirit. Little is said about the band on their biography page or press release other than their influences range from punk to '70s pop to shoe-gaze. Perhaps this is a situation where the band's music truly does speak for itself. Maybe the extensive histories and musical inspirations are trivial compared to the actual art. Maybe the band was lazy and didn't want to write a lengthy biography no one could possibly care about. Regardless, Burden's Landing is an exceptional album that ascends far above Winchester Revival's modest portrayal. The following is a track by track breakdown of the highs and lows of this sophomore release.
1. "Last Night In Tokyo" - The lead track from Burden's Landing erupts in a way that is reminiscent of At The Drive In. Not in the chaotic fashion, but rather, a deliberate strike that pushes you into a head-nodding groove; nodding, before you even realize you are doing so. Winchester Revival has promoted "Last Night In Tokyo" as the first single from the album, and rightly so. It is a well-rounded example of the album's, and band's, intentions and talent. The track soars in and out of crunchy guitar leads that weave between airy, soulful vocal melodies. It sets the tone for the album; and it's a good tone.
2. "Ides of January" - "Ides of January" takes an (almost) unexpected turn from its predecessor. The previous track leads you through a very human and organic landscape, whereas, this song hits you with a synthetic leading melody and a blazing guitar riff. The vocals here are bolder and have a nostalgic, '90s Alt Rock, feel -- in the way David Lowery or Dave Pirner may have preformed if backed by Joy Division. In short, the track rocks and is one of the strongest on the album.
3. "Diligence" - The halfway mark of Burden's Landing showcases a strange and sort of awkward moment. "Diligence" is not a bad song, and actually has some satisfying moments, but more often feels disjointed as if the band couldn't quite agree on the direction of the track. Chalk this up as the experiment that didn't exactly fail, but did not yield the anticipated results.
4. "Keep It Together" - "Keep It Together" is an intermission, or maybe an introduction. One minute and 50 seconds of music that has its own place on the album, but ties into the following track via a shared refrain. The intention of this overture is unclear, unless it is just that: an overture to the next song.
5. "Salamander" - The album begins to wind down with an incorporeal lullaby. "Salamander" directly picks up where "Keep it Together" left off, copying its former's verse and rolling it into a new hymn. Winchester Revival swirls around in another experimental venture, but this time the chemical reaction is much more brilliant. If Toad the Wet Sprocket collaborated with Kasabian, this may be the outcome.
6. "Ice Water" - The finale of Burden's Landing is an energetic track obviously paying homage to the likes of Interpol and The National, but still holds true to WR's own identity. "Ice Water" is a well-crafted jam that could have contended with "Last Night In Tokyo" as the album's chosen single. The song has heart, it has fire, it knows where its going and it gets there. Other indie rock acts should take note of Winchester Revival's fine execution and delivery.
'Burden's Landing' by Winchester Revival: 4 out of 5 Stars