20 September 2008

I'm particularly fond of the coloured hearts on their chests.

…with a tone deaf singer. Honestly, these are the most annoying vocals i have ever had the displeasure of experiencing…”

Ah, this is like a siren call to me. The disgusted listener warning others not to buy an album on account of the vocals. It almost always makes me dive for my wallet (or the download button, whichever the case me be). I love the guy who “can’t sing.” Give me the Conor Obersts and the Alec Ounsworths; you can keep your pitch perfectly boring Chris Martins and Thom Yorkes. Because you know what? The dudes with the different voices have the better lyrics. I can’t explain it, I don’t know why, but the fact remains. (Which is not to say that guys that can sing don’t have good lyrics. Sometimes they do. Except Chris Martin. I hate that guy…)

The above review is taken word for word (and lower case i’ed) from an eMusic user’s review of “Puddle City Racing Lights.” It’s a 2007 album from a mob called Windmill. I’d never heard of them before, but the quirky album cover caught my eye. (Seriously, how cool is that cover?) And I figured with every review mentioning his voice (not all were as nasty as the above) I couldn’t go wrong. And I was right.

The lyrics are equal parts gritty confessional and dreamily surreal, and I love it. The music is gorgeous. The delicateness of Sufan Stevens meets the sweeping grandeur of Rufus Wainwright. And his voice… Well, yeah, it’s definitely different. The beauty of the music only amplifies his flaws, but, for me at least, it works. It creates a tension that is echoed in other parts of the album. In the pull between soft strings and heavy drums, in the pull between the real and the absurd in the lyrics.

I am at a loss as to how this album managed to slip under my radar last year. My only real beef with it is that’s its far too late to add it to my best of 2007 list, where it most assuredly deserves a spot.

Windmill - Tokyo Moon.mp3
“the drugs were doing things you already could…”

Windmill - Boarding Lounges.mp3
“you don’t want me, I don’t want you.”

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