(Signature Sounds, 2010):
Winterpills might think of this six-song EP as “a palette cleanser,” as they declare in their press release, but “Tuxedo of Ashes” is certainly no throw-away, stop-gap measure.
It’s a homegrown, hand-hewn batch of quiet but dramatic songs full of heart-tugging melancholy. It all begins with the lilting folk hymn of “Are You Sleeping (Cinnamon, Cardamom, Lithium)?,” dedicated to the gone-too-talents of Vic Chesnutt, Mark Linkous, Alex Chilton and Andy Hummell. The vocal harmonies of Philip Price and Flora Reed swirl amid the guitars, mellotron and cymbal swells, creating a gentle, but decidedly psychedelic sound.
“Feed the Spider” takes on a darker, more ominous tone, a time-warped Fairport Convention soaked in a minor-key mood. Reed steps up to the microphone for the haunting banjo/synthesizer fusion “A Magnet – To the Light!”
But the most sparkling gem of this collection of nuggets is the finale – the title track that seems to grow organically from a quiet, strummed folk ballad to grand chorale complete with a choir of guest vocalists that includes Mark Mulcahy (of Miracle Legion), Erin McKeown, Grant- Lee Phillips, Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne), Jose Ayerve (Spouse), Lisa Bezo (the Fawns), Henning Ohlenbusch (School for the Dead) and Nippertown’s own Matthew Carefully.
Unassuming? Perhaps. But undeniably beautiful…