• Michael Bugeja

WINTER MOODS' JOURNEY REVIEWED


Five years on from celebrating their silver jubilee, Winter Moods are back with a brand new album. Released last Friday during an intimate live performance at the Valletta Waterfront's Hard Rock Bar, The Journey is the band's sixth album to date. Its 14 tracks reflect a band at the top of its game and with its signature melodic punch intact. As one may surmise from its title, this album is more than just a new collection of songs; it is the culmination of a lasting friendship reinforced by a common passion for making music. Marking the band's 30th year of existence and spearheaded by two singles, Days of my life and Everlasting, both of which firmly maintained Winter Moods’ public presence while the rest of the album was being completed, The Journey reflects a freer approach on the band's part.

Recorded with no particular deadline in mind and hence absolutely no pressure at all, this album is quite possibly the band's strongest effort to venture beyond the popular 'radio rock' blueprint they so successfully developed and redesigned countless times over the past three decades. That’s not to say they've abandoned that characteristic 'anthem' quality that reverberates so profusely in their songs, even more so when taken into a concert scenario. Indeed the above-mentioned singles still embody this completely, and there are several other instances here, among them new single Flowers & Cash, that do so too. In between however, one finds some absolutely resounding tracks, the quieter ones in particular, that lure the listener closer in precisely because they're less refined and somewhat understated.

Darker around the edges than the songs that Winter Moods' fanbase may have been accustomed to thus far these songs, namely This Will Never Die, If I Stood Here and Love You Hate You Adore You are precious rough diamonds. Unpolished, introvert and stripped down, they tremendously enrich The Journey's emotional co-ordinates; its musical path predominantly marked by the primary human emotion that is love in its different forms, but also accommodating other topics besides. There are several other standout tracks, among them rumbling opener Reign Fall, the soaring title track and Happy, the latter even slipping in a cheeky but effective Sgt. Pepper-esque brass inflection. Closing track Lights Are Fading Out ensures the album's grip does not relent until the very end, the song’s atmospheric feel unveiling yet another of The Journey's commendable moments, and rounding off what is most definitely one of the best offerings this band has produced.

For more information, visit www.wintermoods.net.

This article was first published on The Sunday Times of Malta (08 March 2015)

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