Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pitstop: Wintercoats

I'll admit I have a tendency to take music suggestions with far more than just a grain of salt - an unprovoked suggestion is regarded with the most intense of suspicion. I prefer to discover great music at my own pace so when someone tries to lead me there out of the blue completely unwarranted, it tends to be a bit jarring and I quickly throw said suggestion into the farther reaches of my mind until I am ready to deal with the potential consequences. That's essentially why it's taken me over a year to warm up to Wintercoats. Awhile back Rafael over at Heart & Soul recommended Wintercoats most likely based on my love of all things orchestral pop and my response was all suspicious arched eyebrows instead of open ears. There might've also been some yelling.

Melbourne violinist James Wallace aka Wintercoats' reliance on ethereal electronic incorporating sounds isn't what you'd normally think of when you think of orchestral pop but there's no denying that in addition to the delicate care in which Wallace crafts his lush layers, there's definitely ear catching quality. Wintercoats' tracks aren't all gorgeous, ambient free falls, although they do tend to be the musical equivalent of elaborate ice sculptures. Tracks like "Blood Prints" and "Halogen Moon", combine their intricate construction with the necessary forward push of a good pop song.

Wintercoats songs contain multitudes within them. One part dazzling atmospheric instrumentals, others included beguiling sincere vocals, Wallace creates tunes that are chilly but not inhospitable, dreamy but with reality firmly in the periphery. In a world where a pop-oriented violinist will either be compared to Andrew Bird or Owen Pallett, it's nice to hear an artist who casually and rather inoffensively defies not only that instance of pigeonholing but also surpasses any hard genre classification.

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