Monday 13 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Kirk Windstein, "Dream in Motion"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 24/01/2020
Label: eOne Music

“Dream in Motion” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Dream in Motion
2). Hollow Dying Man
3). Once Again
4). Enemy in Disguise
5). The World You Know
6). Toxic
7). The Healing
8). Necropolis
9). The Ugly Truth
10). Aqualung

The Review:

Kirk Windstein is certainly an underground legend- Crowbar, Down, working with Jamey Jasta- his has quite a curriculum vitae. His debut solo LP proper (nothwithstanding the Jasta pairing) is a very intriguing proposition. Crowbar are heavier than lead and as sludgy as a swamp; what can Windstein bring to the table beyond that. Well, as keen fans will know, Windstein is a big fan of 70s rock and classic songwriting. Certainly, opener “Dream in Motion” is weighty and swampy but it is also hooky and surprisingly... breezy. As the album unfolds, you get a definite sense that this is not Crowbar Mk. II but is instead a kind of mid point between Kirk's influences and his Alma mater.

Over the course of “Hollow Dying Man” and “Once Again”, there is actually plenty of darkness but a little more light than you might expect. The latter is dreamy and ethereal in sound- akin to Mastodon at their most mellow. From there, there is plenty of clean guitar on offer on “Enemy In Disguise” and again it is not huge riffing that draws you in, but the dreamlike spacey quality of the sound. The melancholy vibes continue on through “The World You Know”- as do the melodies. It's like a stripped bare Crowbar with the melodies pushed to the fore while the riffs take a back seat.

There is heaviness and riffage, of course, “Toxic” provides that in spades and comes on strong with its doomy sludge but it also has a lighter side as the dynamics are pushed. Windstein's usual themes of self loathing and desperation are apparent, as per, but with some of the sounds there is also hope. Even the title of “The Healing” states this explicitly. It has quiet and loud dynamics and is a worthy instrumental piece. “Necropolis” is again lighter and akin to almost shoegaze type material... were it not for the glacial tempo and inherent darkness.

By the time of the album's latter stages, it has become clear that Windstein wanted to make an album that didn't rely on brute force but instead let the melodic hooks bring the weight and create atmosphere through an air filled production and reverb combined with the clean sounds on offer. “The Ugly Truth” is a fine example of that ethos and then there is only the Jethro Tull cover of “Aqualung” to finish things. It's a fine cover and a solid snapshot of what perhaps Windstein was invoking over the course of the record; Tull were always not really one thing or another. They weren't rock, folk, pop, hard rock, rock n roll, jazz, blues or anything else but were instead a combination of all those things and created startling music, particularly through their 60s and 70s heyday.

Windstein, then, has a created a mellow and dynamic album with lots of light and dark. It wouldn't have worked as a Crowbar record, so his venturing outside of that stricture is to be commended. A good and worthwhile solo record.

“Dream in Motion” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp