kes turns manning the pedal steel and bass on the eight-song record.
"Texas Calling" is the only track not recorded "in the woods" or at the "Woodmont Hotel," according to the back cover, but the ethereal tune is surprisingly the most haunting. Sobbing pedal steel permeates the slow, strumming song, which echoes with an aching cry about the "saddest place I've ever been" and a mournful promise to "never again" return to that place, literally and figuratively.
A refrain of distorted feedback staggers throughout "Lite On," providing an uneasy foundation for a sticky vocal line that sounds like a drippy whisper that's been amplified. "Records" is much the same, minus a few thick, buzzy chords drop from the clouds to strike, thunder and fade away. "Pennies" is as upbeat as this "Winter" gets: not cheery in the least, but at least its acoustic guitars and wailing are up-tempo. The album opens with rain sounds and closes the same way on "'Cause I Remember," the most forgettable song.
Earnest, emotional and exposed, this is heavy and heady listening, so don't bother buying it if you suffer from sonic seasonal affective disorder. Rainy Day was successful in relating a specific mood on "The Winter Album," but even the most cold-blooded amongst us look forward to spring.
"The Winter Album" is $8 as a digital download and $10 for limited-edition vinyl. For more information, visit www.chemicalwirerecords.com. "Joe Wertz