The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun (BHB)

 |   |  1 min read

The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun
The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun (BHB)

The self-titled debut album by this Auckland-based folk-pop band was among the Best of Elsewhere 2007 list -- and they have just been getting better. No surprise really given that alongside the core duo of John Guy Howell and Rachel Bailey are Sam Prebble (who, as Bond Street Bridge, appeared in the following year's Best of Elsewhere with his album The Mapmaker's Art) and Verlaines' bassist Mike Stoodley alongside drummer Myles Allpress.

You might say they are a supergroup of alt.folk-pop.

More seriously, this new album capitalises on the band's considerable pedigree, and a pleasingly maturity of lyrics, melody and intent. (Elsewhere has bemoaned in the past how many local acts are using fey whimsy as  their default position.)

Listen to Calling Card here -- a romantic Sicilian/Italian influence in the music? -- where Bailey delivers a hard message to a former lover ("I'm not some second choice . . . when everything goes wrong") and you know this is music for adults.

And you can't help but smile when A,B and C kicks in with a musical reference to the Crystals before it gets down to the darker existential questions over a brooding, repeated guitar figure then opening out at the mid-point with confident assertion ("I feel the power/light/moment").

There are also songs of great emotional uplift here: the title track notes that after all the work, the failed dreams, and the lack of reward you deserve some winter sun, "start again beneath the wintersun, Hey, go lightly on yourself". The opener Tell That Boy is about love lost and the dream denied by a lack of community and compassion, but that "the sun will surely rise tomorrow".

The gorgeously ghostly The Hand That's Dealt is a distant lover admitting they are hard to love ("it's not easy to love someone who doesn't love themself") and after the Intermission II a cloud of death (as a reality in life) hovers over the lovely Time to Go and the stately Mi Corazon.

These are beautiful, tasteful and sensitively delivered songs with understated acoustic arrangements (and electric guitars where required) and lead to the closers Sylvia (about a birth) and the breathtakingly beautiful Simmering Moon which ends the album with the simple but powerful lines "carry us home, where there is love".

Quite a journey to that point -- and one it is a delight to have been taken on.

Highly recommended. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust (Shock)

Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust (Shock)

Los Lobos have always had a propensity to revert back to being a bar band (albeit a well produced one with terrific guitar playing) and that is their default position too often here for this to be... > Read more

Pink Floyd: The Endless River (Sony)

Pink Floyd: The Endless River (Sony)

Because Pink Floyd have been around so long and went through various phases and stages, it's probably helpful for any reviewer of this album – identified by guitarist/prime mover David... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE JESUS PAPERS by MICHAEL BAIGENT: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here

THE JESUS PAPERS by MICHAEL BAIGENT: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here

When the court case between two of the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code, was being played out in London a couple of years ago, commentators... > Read more

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

It would be a fair guess to say Michael Chugg has been at more shows than any musician you can name. Because when musicians take a break Chugg is at another show. Not that he actually sits down... > Read more