Winchester Revival is a new band out of Oakland, California who formed in 2014 and has already put out two EPs, the most recent of which was released partially under BMI records. With such a powerful label taking notice of them, Winchester Revival is poised to take over the current indie rock climate with their unique brand of grunge/dream pop fusion and heartfelt lyrics.
Prior to Winchester Revival’s coming onto the scene as well as currently, much of the indie rock climate seems to be leaning towards blues or folk Americana fusions or towards dream pop, a largely electronic venture. The heavy, guitar-driven styles of grunge, shoegazer rock and college radio, which initially created the term indie, seem to have been classed out of the genre. With bands like Winchester Revival, however, it seems that the pendulum may be swinging back in favor of grunge, but with a more modern twist.
Eyes in the Canopy was Winchester Revival’s first EP in 2014, and both that album and Burden’s Landing showcase Winchester Revival’s interesting sound, which is very heavy on the guitars, indeed. Aside from the grunge-like guitars, the first thing new listeners will notice is singer David Rosenheim’s brassy and also very grunge vocals. For such a unique timbre, Rosenheim is able to develop a high level of refinement and squeeze heavy emotion out of his voice. This is one thing which sets him apart from bands with similar-sounding singers of the past like Dig and the Afghan Whigs.
Refinement and musicianship is also the name of the game when it comes to Andrew Lund’s guitar work, and he too adds a dreamy and emotive quality to his sound. Some 30-something listeners may remember a band from the late 90s called Hum who had a similar sound to their guitars, but in that case it took three guitarists to achieve the same result as Lund has by himself. All the analog instruments in Winchester Revival; vocals, guitar, Ron Cruz’s bass guitar and Kirk Snedeker’s drums are also executed at a very high level, but they never lose the passion endemic in the original grunge sound. Matt Glick rounds out the band’s sound by adding a very modern electronic flare, something that wasn’t introduced into indie rock until the early 2000s. This is another way in which Winchester Revival has evolved and added their own touch to that grunge core.
Burden’s Landing unfortunately consists of only six songs. Last Night in Tokyo opens the album with heavy guitars and Rosenheim’s uniquely emotive vocals in the chorus. The next song, Ides of January, shows Glick’s electro samples take center stage, though Lund’s guitar and Cruz’s heavy and complex bassline are not to be missed. Keep it Together is another track where the electronic element shines, but it is a short track meant to introduce Salamander, a track which will likely be the first single on the album. It seems Winchester Revival had the most fun putting this song together, and it showcases each of their talents in a balanced and interesting way. There is even a jocular element to this song which balances out the heavy emotion also contained, therein. The closing track, Ice Water, is the most purely grunge on the album and contains some interesting syncopation, once again putting Winchester Revival’s own unique stamp on a classic style.
Fans of grunge, electronic music, dream pop and just plain good indie rock will all find something to love on Winchester Revival’s second EP. Burden’s Landing has all these elements and more, with true musicianship being the most predominant element of this inspiring album. With the rate at which Winchester Revival is producing work, fans hopefully will not have to wait too long until a full-length album is released. Burden’s Landing can be streamed and purchased on Winchester Revival’s Bandcamp page, and it looks like an album launch party is in the works soon, according to their label’s website. Links to both sites can be found below in sources.
Review by Layla Klamt