For The Sake Of The Song: Winterpills “July”

It’s fascinating to understand why certain songs click with the listener – for me it’s the tune. If it’s a catchy, hummable tune – I warm to the song as if it’s a new best friend. Back in 2007, Northampton, Massachusetts outfit Winterpills were gaining traction, having debuted with the wonderful ‘Winterpills’ album two years previously. Their second release – ‘The Light Divides’ was an even better album, full to bursting with superb songs and a confidence in their musical approach which was truly impressive.

The press were taking notice as well with The Washington Post remarking “an-ice-filigreeing-the-bare-trees sound, cold and achingly beautiful is what sets this group apart … downright glorious when the harmonies start, as crisp and shining as crystal”. Rolling Stone magazine suggested “their songs are mournful, slow exploding, and lyrically dazzling and their albums have a coherence that’s rare”.

This album for me crystalized the astoundingly effective male-female harmonies from main songwriter Philip Price and Flora Reed. They work perfectly, complementing each other so well they seemed destined to work together musically.

The album wonderfully mixes quite bleak and complex lyrics with gorgeous and beautiful melodies and vocals,  juxtaposing these two opposite moods to electrifying effect. And ‘July’ is the pinnacle of it. An instantly catchy tune with Price’s and Reed’s vocals combining in the richest way possible. A solid strumming of electric guitars seeps into the song and you’re hooked into a tune that still – after what for me, must be nearly hundreds of listens –  still energises and surprises.

The band have six albums to their credit to date and Price has a healthy solo career – but the band’s output has quietened a little in recent years. Their back catalogue is really worth checking out and ‘The Light Divides’ is the perfect introduction to the joys of their stupendous music.

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David Chalfen

Thanks. Their Signature label put out some great live streams during covid, including them, which was a great discovery