The Winks - Twilights
From the childlike yet nightmarish whimsy of "Wildlife of the Desert," "Twilights" sounds like stoned outtakes from a lost H.R. Puffnstuff soundtrack. The Winks twisted psych-pop is unlike anything you're likely to hear, mostly because in lesser hands this could be an exercise in smarmy irony. The Winks play it straight, supplying a dark edge to their trippy confections.
Swirling melodies mix with absurd lyrics and the occasional atonal cacophony give way to Broadway jitters ("Bookface") and cello-driven dirge ("Blue Tango"). Cellist/singer Tyr Jami's shrill vocals provide the childlike feel without ever being cloying; the more flat voice of Todd McDonald (who also plays mandolin) adds a tempering counterpoint.
The lumbering, heavy "Water Park" illustrates another layer of the band's talent. With harsh synths and electrified cello, the track is as much lament as it evokes a magical memory. The sublime "It's Happening" and dreamlike "Telepathic Rockets" are also highlights.
"I don't mind if I sleepwalk and end up in the lake," McDonald sings on the closing "Wakonda," and that is a good summary of the mood of this record. "Twilights" is a dreamy, disorienting but daring pop record, one that mixes psych, gorgeous melody, and the sense of dread, wonder and surrealism of childhood. The Winks have emerged from Montreal with an entire world already created for you, waiting for you to float on in.
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