Win Win “Double Vision” | Vice Records
When looking into the past foundations of music that comprises both pop and experimental elements and more particularly those willing to take their craft to newer expansive heights than anything around them, there is a huge list that starts to form: Talking Heads, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Television, Devo, Elvis Costello, PiL, Gang of Four, Talk Talk; the list goes on into what seems like forever. As musicians bridge these adventurous pathways into composition and textures, more and more try to step into these shoes and most fail before even coming out the gates. That last statement couldn’t be further from the truth with the psych dance trio from Boston and New York Win Win, comprised of Alex Epton aka XXXchange, Chris Devlin and Ryan Sciaino.
After releasing their debut self titled album on Vice Records in February of 2011, the group has come with the follow up Double Vision on the same imprint as the first and is gearing to set out for tour dates in support. With this new LP, the group steps away from the bass heavy formula of machinery that is drawn out on most of the debut record to bring in a completely new expression filled pop odyssey with diverse instrumentation, an aura and nostalgic calling to the new wave movement of the 80′s and a sense of determination that makes me smile from ear to ear. There is a large presence of dynamics in this record; from the delightful addition of live instrumentation that really shows how far they were willing to step outside of the identity of their first album to sounds I wish I could identify. Pop to avant-garde, I can’t think of many groups who are willing to push their sound so far away from what fans were first introduced with. In 2012, this is starting to become the norm though and a record like Double Vision only gives this theory more substance.
Steeped into bubbling pop grooves, adventurous layering of psychedelic textures and a powerful lyrical presence that touches on some very important subjects that elevate the music as well, Double Vision is one of those albums that I can see connecting with a lot of different type of people around the world. With a live show that has been talked about by a lot of the press and music fans all over the world it’s not a surprise that the group is creating the type of buzz that draws out a sensational hysteria for a new group, band or artist. The streaming of the new record out on Vice this week via Rolling Stone is only further proof of this.
Beginning with the colorful and adventurous track “Salt Days Minus”, the album begins right away with a balancing act between krautrock, electronica, synth pop and indie rock. A wave of synth brings the album into a barely audible sample of a person talking, sounding almost like a news feed. The synth is already gorgeous in the most subtle form, building around the restrained drums and the passionate vocal work that marks the entire album. The synth is mixed with a lot of attention to movement and placement in the mix while the bass, drums and main melody lines anchor the song. As the music picks up, the layering becomes more engaging, more drawn out and revealing of how the band operates in a fully layered group dynamic. Set in a pop structure where the vocals surface to the top, the sea of sound under is a beautiful thing to get lost in. I love how the band breaks out and the synth runs a few lines in solo form of the main melody, emphasizing how catchy yet sophisticated it is. The ending brings to light small venue performance spaces where everyone in the crowd is singing together, clapping and completely lost in the moment together. Every song on the album has these little personal traits that make it such an intriguing album below its surface. On the surface, you can expect some of the best song writing in this style of music.
As I graft my way through every track on the record, I find myself lost in a world I am astonished by, unsure of how things are musically and stylistically sitting side by side in the manner that they do with as much clarity and full of that catchy vibe that fills up radio waves. As soon as my body starts to uncontrollably move from the non stop grooves and anthem like synth work and guitar riffs, my mind is caught into a spiral of psychedelic tones that take me to places pop records normally don’t. It’s this division between the worlds that has sucked me into Double Vision time after time. It’s a record I really believe in and something I think you will love if you are into 80′s music and the musings of future electronics.
Order a digital copy from iTunes by Clicking Here