Edinburgh pop/rock quartet, The Winter Tradition, rattle off arena sized stadium hooks so effortlessly, you wonder why every band doesn’t do it. Granted, they’re still in the club era of their career, but you can hear where they’re headed. Their debut album, Gradients, came out this summer and is steadily building steam on both sides of the pond.
You gotta hand it to the Scots, unlike many of their English counterparts, when they sing, they retain their intriguing accents. Ewan Simpson’s rich, soulful brogue lifts The Winter Tradition’s songs up of the Scottish highlands and into the heavens. Gradients is the perfect album for Editors fans who did not dig that band’s synthier new direction. It stands in kindred spirit with The National, Coldplay, Idlewild, Foo Fighters and my favorite Scottish export, Big Country (a band whose entire catalog is under appreciated in the States).
“Tides and Telegrams” is latest single off Gradients. Whereas earlier singles “Firelight” and “San Diego” hit you right out of the gate with massive guitar lines courtesy of Mark Morrow and Stephen Furbank, this one makes you wait patiently as fire rises from the embers. At the 1:09 mark, you can tell that drummer Callum Mouat is beyond ready to pound the crap out of the kit, but then he holds back like a man telling his tantric lover to breathe deep and relax. It’s not until 2:48 that the big musical O occurs — and when it does, it’s glorious.
But now, let’s dish about the video…
The Video for “Tides and Telegrams” continues the grand MTV tradition of lovelorn damsels strolling blustery shores along the UK coastline. Tides heroine has got to be the most beautiful woman in this genre since the hot for teacher in Simply Red’s “Holding Back The Years.” Speaking of yesteryear, this clip serves as a cold reminder to our youth of how we once communicated with each other before facebook and e-mail. We walked to the shore, put a message in a bottle, threw it into the sea and waited weeks for a response.
Depending upon the way you interpret the story, either this lady eventually gets a LOT of responses from her lover or potential suitors, or she just doesn’t understand “Tides” well enough to not have her “Telegrams” wash right back to shore. The clip also reminds us to not litter our waterways. The actress is lovely, but in the final seconds of the video, you can just picture her thinking, “Helly fackin’ crap it’s cold. How come I’m soaked and the band got to stay high and dry? How much am I getting paid for this?”
Just another mystery that might get solved with multiple views. Apropos, since The Winter Tradition are the band to watch in 2013. I look forward to many more views and listens in the years ahead.
Gradients is on sale this week at Amazon.
For a very limited time, “Tides and Telegrams” is POPDOSE’s free Song of the Day:
To download the MP3: PC (right click/save file as); MAC (option click)