Tuesday, March 13, 2007
When I first heard Winterpillls debut back in 2005 it came across as a breath of fresh air: a delicate and perfect interplay of harmonies between a man and woman’s voices plus chiming, tasteful guitars, but all with an urgency in the lyrics and songwriting which made it an impressive debut.
Winterpills is Dennis Crommett on electric guitar, Dave Hower on drums and percussion, Philip Price on vocals, acoustic guitar and keyboards, and Flora Reed on keyboard and vocals. Occasional members include José Ayerve on bass, who also produced the bands debut and co-produced their new CD, and Brian Akey, also on bass.
Winterpills don’t get reviewed without people like Elliot Smith, Simon and Garfunkel, Iron and Wine, or Low getting discussed. When I hear the band, I think of the late 60s, as if Winterpills could have played alongside the Los Angeles music scenes that brought us Love or The Byrds or the San Francisco scene that fostered Jefferson Airplane. Were they playing then, they’d likely be considered folk-rock, a phrase that today seems to mean something very different...
On Winterpills’ myspace page, they also cite influences such as The Innocence Mission, Stars, Elliott Smith, X, Joni Mitchell, Bjork, Stephen Merritt, Neil Young, George Harrison, ABBA, Sun Kil Moon, Harry Nilsson, Leonard Cohen, Elton John, and Sam Beam of Iron and Wine.
Winterpills does what all great bands do, bringing together some disparate and perfectly-matched skills to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Their 2005 release garnered a number of critical rave reviews in The Washington Post, The Big Takeover, and No Depression. Their new CD, The Light Divides was produced by Dave Chalfant, José Ayerve, and Winterpills and was released by Signature Sounds and Soft Alarm Records in late February.
The band is out now on a tour of the east coast, midwest and several shows at SXSW.