There’s something a little contradictory about a band who share their name with a slang term for a male member whilst also showing a penchant for doomy and dramatic song titles such as ‘To Die A Thousand Romantic Deaths’ or ‘Death At The Heart Of The Disco’. Such an incongruous proposition is offered by New York shoegaze/drone rock duo Winkie.
Most of the songs here consist of droning bass and repetitive drum patterns which often seem to be in direct competition with the group’s keyboard melodies and submerged vocals. The levels of distortion are pitched so high for ‘Illuminated’, for example, that any aspect of light is shut out by the claustrophobic walls of effects. However, if that doesn’t put you off there is actually a lot to recommend on ‘One Day We Pretended To Be Ghosts’. Not least on ‘My Eyes Are Closed When The Sun Comes Up’ where Peter Santiago’s gothic bass trades murky 4AD style shapes with Gina Spiteri’s sinister keyboard washes, the intense intro to ‘The Line Up’ builds up like The Chameleons’ ‘Less Than Human’ and on ‘Sometimes’ Spiteri gives her best vocal performance, soaring above the chugging bass and her own sparkling keyboards. Later on, in ‘Death At The Heart Of The Disco’, the production is overplayed in favour of distortion but there’s clearly a shimmering tune underneath all the noise whilst the relentless ‘Killer Behind Those Masks’ and ‘Arrows’ build up impressive levels of seductive menace and evil.
All told, Winkie offer an interesting and surprisingly complex version of the shoegaze story. What is more, however impenetrable their music seems to be to the uninitiated, just like My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain before them, there is always beauty to be found within.
Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine