I have always loved Kenna. I first remembering hearing Kenna when I was in highschool. It was really good. Really good. Lie in bed and listen into the night good. Thats why when I read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink I took note during the chapter on Kenna. Its core was that people who know music love Kenna. After shredding my license to think coherantly, I decided that Blink was telling me something more. It was telling me that I know music, god damnit, and if I like it then it has to be good.
This was, of course, not the point that Gladwell was trying to make. My deduction is fallicious and wrongheaded, and music is too personal for objective analysis, blah blah blah. Fuck it, I know music, so sit down and listen.
As the introduction has made very clear, this is a review of Windmill's album Puddle City Racing Lights. Windmill is Matthew Thomas Dillon, a brit, but it doesn't matter, what really matters is that the album is fantastic. And its available in the US on iTunes, that matters too.
Its Epic, Like Watching a Storm Through A Window
This cd is at its best when it is at its most epic. Not epic like a graying rockstar screaming louder in a misguided struggle to stay relevant, not epic like a six month jam version of Stairway to Heaven, its epic like a Sigur Ros song. Only, stay with me here, it isn't Sigur Ros, so you can stop pretending to hate it and just enjoy.
Fluorescent Lights, epitomizes this epic grandeur that can only derive from piano riffs and Dillon's atypical (which is to say, weird) voice. The song explodes into the chorus, and then dwindles into lonely and abandoned piano chords. The feelings evoked by this song remind me of a song off the beginning of Army by Ben Folds Five where Ben is telling his girlfriend that he has to follow his heart and go back home. We have all suffered the calamity of losing something precious, in pursuit of something even more precious.
Newsflash is also a song that can catch you with its quiet piano and universally vague lyrics about a failed relationship. Music is supposed to speak to our emotions, to help make sense of our fucked up lives, or at least make us remember that we are still alive living them. Thats what this song is, thats what this cd is: a celebration of emotions (especially those that stem from failed relationships). Newsflash has one of my favorite lines in the cd, addressed to either his ex or perhaps to the world, "Newsflash: I've tried so hard, for so long."
Tilting Trains, Replace Me and Tokyo Moon are also excellent tracks. Of the seven others, some are fairly good, and others strike me as a bit bland. Apparently Fit was chosen as the first single. I don't really see why, I don't think if you played the cd through you would even notice the song. You might end up referring to it as "that so-so song right before Replace Me", but in all honesty you probably wouldn't bother refering to it at all.
I think that is the simple idea behind this cd: feel. Feel. Feel. And you will, if you can remember to relax and take things as they are. Sure, Puddle City Racing Lights could just be a piece of melodramatic piano abuse, but you have only yourself to blame if it turns out that way. How can you honestly dislike a song that can infuse sorrow into a line like "Cy-Cy-Cylinders jammed to the robot's hand"? Okay, its easy to dismiss as idiotic, but if you do, then try to lighten up and give it another listen. Who cares what the other people think, because if they don't like this album, they're wrong.