It's no fun getting old. Your body rebels, memories fade, and it gets harder and harder to find new music (as in 'stuff you haven't heard', rather than 'stuff that hasn't been done before') that you like. Critically-acclaimed 'new' bands seem hell-bent on making you wonder why you don't 'get' them, when 'the kids' (one of which you used to be, two or three short decades ago) are taking them to their hearts. What changed, and when?
If you're lucky, once in a blue moon you hear a song that reminds you why you loved pop music so much in the first place. If you're really lucky, it turns out that it wasn't a fluke, and that the band in question has other songs that make you feel the same way; that make you want to buttonhole anyone who'll listen and say, "Look, forget [enter name of current hipster upstarts] - THIS is how you do pop!" Enter The Winter Olympics.
There's something about their sound which reminds me of a dozen other bands without evoking one in particular. Fair-to-middling broadsheet reviews of this album have name-checked Blur and The Kaiser Chiefs, but to my ears The Winter Olympics sound like a slightly less indie (early) Wonder Stuff duking it out with a slightly less 'classic rock' The Darkness, while The Killers hold their respective coats (although 'This Is the Fourth Time (I Have Been in Your House)' does the quiet/loud/quiet Pixies thing, and is particularly reminiscent of `Gouge Away').
It's not all gravy: the production is often of the 'everything louder than everything else' school; a few of the songs are a bit same-y, and lacking a killer hook or chorus; and singer Andrew Wagstaff's vocal melodies take the 'top line' perhaps a little too often (he also sounds uncannily like Phil Oakey at times, although that is not necessarily a bad thing).
Caveats notwithstanding, I've fallen hard for this album, and am boring my friends rigid by singing its praises and quoting Wagstaff's highly quotable lyrics at them. Apparently it's taken the band ten years to put this record together. I hope the follow-up doesn't take as long, and that even it does, it'll have been worth the wait.Read more ›
Superb debut album from the Winter Olympics. Years in the making, hours of practice and global tours consisting of London, Bristol and Exeter have resulted in this slick, non-stop blood rush of a long player. Buy it now.