I Am Not the Crow
Out on a Limb****
It seems strange now to think of Steve Ryan in his former guise as one half of Limerick hardcore instrumentalists Giveamanakick – especially because his current band are about as far removed from head-pounding beats and body-splitting riffs as you can get. And it says a lot for Ryan’s diversity that he has moved so fluidly between both styles, even if his first tentative steps with Windings in 2005 (initially a solo project while he was still part of Giveamanakick) and album No 2 in 2010 felt a little unsteady.
Seven years on, the Limerick man has hit his stride in glorious fashion. Windings is now a permanent five-piece band, and their third album is a confident, finely honed collection of indie-rock that ducks and dives between sweet, laidback folk and grimy wig-outs with dexterity and self-assurance.
I Am Not the Crow is an album of two halves. The first four tracks were recorded in Montréal with Godspeed You! Black Emperor man Efrim Menuck, the latter tracks in Donegal with Villagers guitarist- producer Tommy McLaughlin. But the collection is no less coherent for its bisection. If anything, it adds to the likeable irregularity.
Laidback opener Sun in the My Bones is audibly influenced by Neil Young, while the comparatively frantic pogo- friendly Alkaterian Are Alright recalls Weezer, or perhaps even early Foo Fighters. Lead single This Is Conversation also lies within the Montréal- recorded batch, a skittering, grooving song that takes us on a meandering rock odyssey and exhibits Ryan’s talent for melody and offbeat structure.
On the other hand, the grizzled thrust of the title track sounds distinctly Irish, using the same sort of slackened gloominess one used to hear in bands Turn and Whipping Boy, while Local Broken Man’s loose, ramshackle murmur trickles to a close like something from Simple Kid’s back catalogue.
Playing the rough off the smooth is no easy task, but Ryan and his band have forged an impressively sure-footed and enjoyably varied record. From hesitant beginnings, Windings have become a band to be reckoned with.
Download tracks:This Is Conversation, Alkaterian Are Alright