If the album title appears ambiguous, it merely reflects the
more obtuse aspects of Winterpills’ MO. Indeed, there’s a brittle edge to the
Winterpills’ approach, not to mention a certain aloofness that often keeps the
listener at arm’s length. That’s not a criticism; rather, it’s a commentary on
the band’s ethereal sound, given its lithe harmonies and effortless caress.
Aside from a single discordant intrusion – that being the
stark, psychedelic “January Rain” – much of the album bears the wispy essence
of cotton candy; sweet to the senses but uncommonly airy and elusive as well.
Nevertheless, it’s all about the ambiance and the denser the textures, the
lovelier it becomes. “Small Bright Doses” and “Rogue Highway” provide the most
affecting examples – the former through its steady build and emphatic refrain,
the latter with a retro pop stomp and a ringing delivery that ex Byrds man
Roger McGuinn would be well advised to appropriate for himself. Those two
indelible songs alone more than warrant the price of admission, but while the
rest of the album is far more ambiguous, its dream-like melodies and beguiling
intrigue provide plenty of reason to succumb to its spell.
“Small Bright Doses,” “Rogue
Highway” LEE ZIMMERMAN