The Long Winters is an alternative pop rock band from Seattle, Washington, whose members seem to be always on the move. Former members include Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger and Brian Young of Fountains of Wayne. The band’s new album Putting The Days To Bed features John Roderick (vocals, guitar), Eric Corson (bass), Nabil Ayers (drums), and Jonathan Rothman (keyboard) with the result being a blend of melodic pop.
Touring with Barsuk Records label mates Nada Surf and Death Cab For Cutie influenced The Long Winters. The power pop melodies that made Nada Surf popular (get it?) can be heard in the slightly downbeat “Seven” while the electronic pop melodies of Death Cab For Cutie can be heard in the not-so-electronic-but-similar-sounding “Sky Is Open.”
If there don’t seem to be any central themes in the album it’s because there aren't supposed to be any. “Everybody has little disasters that pock-mark their memory, and little triumphs growing up between the cracks, and I write songs about that stuff,” Roderick says as he describes his songs. This can single-handedly help anyone to understand the very weird and bizarre “Clouds.” With lyrics like “Final cloud architects with GPS / Staple-gun carpenters building a 3D mess / We protest, but it doesn't work again,” how can anyone listening not repeat the song to try to find that hidden meaning?
The zaniness is what separates The Long Winters from other bands. The band Guster comes to mind during “Teaspoon,” with its unconventional use of trumpets and ska-like melody, and “(It's A) Departure,” with its very prevalent instrumentals (yah for trumpets).
However, for those looking for more traditional alternative pop songs can rest assure; the album does include what you crave. The opening track “Pushover” is your garden variety radio-friendly love tune but better. The melodies are a better kind of catchy than your average Goo Goo Dolls song.
With “Rich Wife,” the guitar comes out in greater force and the result is a more mature sounding Daniel Powter. Although, mature isn’t a very accurate word to describe the kind of audience Roderick wants to appeal to: “And, actually, the more I think about it, our music goes really well with asymmetrical hair.” I think he got his audience mixed up as he thought about GPS cloud architects.