Winter People – A Year At Sea Album Review

A Year At Sea’ is the debut feature length album by Sydney folk rock six-piece Winter People and features the singles ‘Gallons’ and ‘Wishingbone’.

The one thing that really comes through in ‘A Year At Sea’ is that Winter People appear to be quite sophisticated. They seem like the kind of band that would write songs over high tea, weaving together lyrics in between talk of the death of renowned historian Eric Hobsbawne and whether the USA will really enter recession by the end of the year.  However, unlike the topics listed above, their music is very accessible, easy to marvel at, and impossible not to appreciate.

Winter People have to be the one band that could appropriately say they are a small orchestra with additional vocalists. They have a strings section that includes multiple violins, a rich thundering percussionist and finally the guitarist and bassist combo to add the real band element. The sound that results is nothing short of spectacular.

‘A Year At Sea’ is an dark indie folk album full of energy, sophistication and that spark that makes you go ‘wow’.  Popular single ‘Gallons’, is an atmospheric number dominated by booming viscous woody percussion and complemented by hauntingly sweet violins and the clearest of vocals. The lyrics are of the highest calibre and delivered with the clearest enunciation of anybody going around. Seriously, name me one other band that casually weaves ‘incantations’ into their lyrics?

‘Wishingbone’ is another standout track. Warm harmonies, delicate strings and full of this positive group energy, it is the kind of song that shows the tightness that Winter People have as a band.

The more folk side of Winter People’s sound really comes through in ‘On Top of the World’, which also contains my favourite bass lines on the album. ‘The  Banker’s Lament’ showcases a slightly more upbeat take on the similar dark, heavy themes, whilst the delicate violin intro and harmonies of ‘Valley Hymn’ are a refreshing and mellow change.

‘A Year At Sea’ is a very assured debut and manages to appropriately show off Winter People’s ability to produce the most sombre and epic indie folk sounds going around. Dark, haunting and constantly building, Winter People’s debut is a truly incredible and sophisticated listen.

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