November 14, 2005

The Long Winters "Ultimatium"

The Long Winters' newest EP, Ultimatum, is a nice stopgap release. Though 2003's When I Pretend to Fail was a yummy, sticky-sweet psych-pop collection of songs, for Ultimateum Winters leader John Roderick has decided to take his music in a bit of a wintery direction. The songs found here are a bit sad and a bit dreary, but that does not make them any less good. Roderick's singing--which sounds like an odd mixture of Jeff Mangum and Counting Crows' Adam Duritz--naturally sounds a little sad and more than a little lackadaisical, but it serves the songs quite well. "The Commander Thinks Aloud" has a piano intro that's similar to The Beatles' "Let it Be," while "Ultimatium" contains some rather nice guitar picking. "Everything is Talking" is pretty, although a little nondescript. Of the new songs, the big winner is "Delicate Hands." With a bouncy piano riff and gentle synthesized flutes, it's Ultimatium's most realized, most fulfilling song, and even though all of these new songs are band productions, only " doesn't feel much like a solo production. The final two songs, "Bride and Bridal" and "Ultimatium," are solo acoustic renditions.

Ultimatium is a fine little record. For those not familiar with The Long Winters, it's a nice place to start, and it satiates the appetite for those hungry and impatient for more. Does this stripped-down sound represent the band's new sound? We'll have to wait and see...

--Joseph Kyle

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