Balancing the carefully curated caress of soft and soulful melody and harmony against the gravelly growl and raging aggression of the grungy guitar and punk chant choruses, Windward manage to release a set of songs that defy genre with a truly unique and captivating sound.
While not technically an EP we have decided to review 3 of the five tracks that were all released via the bands online platforms on the same day. The selection provides a deep dive into their influences and overall sound and if this is just a taste we can’t wait to see what they do with a properly structured feature length outing.
The bands sound is incredibly difficult to put your finger on, it’s like Nirvana at their most playful, or if Weezer traded in their glasses and knit sweaters for leather jackets. It has this fuzzy garage rock passion and aggression but tempers it with a much softer and heartfelt poetry. It’s like NOFX and Radiohead combined, clever lyricism delivered with everything they have at the tip of sardonic wit and scathing social commentary.
‘You’re Such A Wild Child‘ was the track that brought us in. It starts with this distorted bubbling bass that slowly builds as the lyrics and tempo kicks in around it until the sound explodes into its evolved form with the beginning of the first verse in earnest. From there it is a crashing affair with drums and fuzzy guitars whirling into the chorus.
Lyrically it is tender and sweet, a love letter to a best friend or partner championing their quirks and weirdness. There is a childish and playful side to the poetry of the lyrics that captures the feelings of youth and honest appreciation for finding someone you connect with so perfectly for the first time.
With ‘Blackout Drunk‘ we are thrown headfirst into the mosh pit on the other side of the band’s sound. It is a feral and ferocious punk track that kicks out a much more aggressive jam, the drums continue on in their relentless assault at the centre of the track while the guitars prowl through the verses and pounce in the chorus.
Lyrically it is a lot more concrete and in your face, yet it still retains that tenderness with its brutal honesty and treatment of mental health and the root cause of far too many of our own overreliance on alcohol. The chorus again reminds of Nirvana and NOFX with a heavy grunge influence worming it’s way into the punkier set up, the hummed melodic consideration after each chorus line is a thing of beauty.
“When life gives you lemons, you throw that shit away!”
With ‘Self-talk’ the two sides of the sound introduced in the other tracks come crashing together with cataclysmic force. The chorus absolutely destroys the speaker, while the verse and lyricism paint a gentler and introspective narrative about self-care and looking after yourself.
In the tracks dying throes there is this grunge soaked freak-out, with the wailing vocals and frenzied guitar work it is the moment when even a casual listener will perk up and truly pay attention. It is a haunting homage to the late great Cobain and with the tracks messaging of being kinder to yourself and learning to love the mistakes that you think you’ve made, it is an apt tribute.
There is a great deal of progression in the song and it is almost unrecognisable from the track you started listening to by the time it comes to a close. Again this clever instrumentation and musicality mirrors and echoes the lyrical content in a feat of skilled song writing.
Windward are unconventional, both in their sound and in the way they release and promote their music. They play to the beat of their own furious drums and make art that is all the more creative, unique, and enchanting because of this. This is a young band with heaps of passion that I very much look forward to seeing grow and mature their sound over the coming years.
Words by Matt Miles