Winston Audio - The Red Rhythm (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Winston Audio

The Red Rhythm (2009)

Favorite Gentlemen

Winston Audio's ambitious versatility is at once their greatest strength and most detrimental flaw, but at their core, they play solid, hard-charging, Southern-tinged sort-of indie rock songs with helping heapings of influence from the `90s alternative landscape.

Doing some research, I've come across all sorts of comparisons this album's garnered: Smashing Pumpkins; Hot Water Music; Incubus; Chris Cornell. I never would have thought of any of these on my own, but one might argue there's tinges of everyone in there.

The Red Rhythm bears small subtleties that pump up an affair that can be otherwise fairly innocuous at times. Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull hops on "Keeping It Down," his wavering voice snarling in the best way only Andy Hull can snarl. Cut the lead vocalist and "Hey Ann," bleating yet muted horns in the background, might be a Happy Hollow-era Cursive take. The slow, bluesy dirge of "Nothing to Hide" bears resemblance to their close associates in Colour Revolt, who did this sort of thing to only decent effect on last year's Plunder, Beg, And Curse. "Smoke Signal" has some nice chiming-esque guitar on the chorus, with a tiny bit more dynamic that Rhythm seems to sorely lack otherwise. A pretty hard curveball comes in "Action Reaction," which treads a bit on butt-rock territory. It sort of sounds like a Switchfoot ballad or something, but it's got this heavily breathy beauty about it that actually makes it a decent enough success.

An 'X' factor largely lacks on The Red Rhythm, though. Might it be a personal fondness for the alternative rock of the 1990s that eluded this reviewer by a half-decade? Admittedly, maybe. But it could also be a pinch more cohesiveness needed, as well as more dramatic gaps in the moods portrayed here. Even when Winston Audio sound mournful, they sound happy doing it. The Red Rhythm is therefore a pleasant exercise to watch unfold, but in need of a greater air to let it breathe and take effect.

On My Trail
Keeping It Down
Hey Ann