The Portland, Oregon based singer/songwriter known as Winter Darks spent a lot of time quietly playing the guitar in other people’s bands. She never sang. However she had been writing songs but would never play them live or for anyone at all for that matter. When the realization that so many solo artists reach was the fact that she would never be happy in someone else’s band. Still she hired a singer to sing the songs she had written for her band, but as you can guess the effect was not what she wanted and finally, after performing the songs live by herself realized that a solo career was the only way to go.
Winter Darks’ first record is the eleven-song Any Place All the Time. I heard in these songs that very early sound of indie rock before it was the indie rock that it is today. A band like Superchunk came to mind because of the beauty and simplicity of the songs, but also the first record by the Shins, again for its tenderness and its timing and also a bearing of really raw emotion that wasn’t so lost in metaphors that one needed a codebook to decipher them.
Any Place All the Time opens with the whittled pop tune “Down” a jangly and straightforward offering that still sounded a bit like it was in a demo phase or needed something else behind it. Perhaps the sentimentality is a bit too strong for the stripped down instrumentation. However the next song, “Tomorrow” hits the bullseye in this same respect, offering a little more jolting guitar that counterbalances the dire and forlorn lyrics.
She seems to find a good balance later on the song “Drive” which sounds a much richer way for Winter Darks to get her points across. I felt the same on “24 Hours” that she found a way to keep her vocals from standing out a bit too much from the music. The song takes on a bit of Sunny Day Real Estate like quality to it with its emotional swells. I felt a rather similar connection on the song, “Day Will Come.”
Any Place All the Time sounded to me like a classic first record. There are still kinks that need to be worked out and those things can only be fixed by work and time. But still the record is worth a listen for Winter Darks’ powerful vocals. They are in that way a double edged sword, as she seems to need to find a backing set of instruments that can stand up to them.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook