Good music takes time to record. Sure, inspiration can strike like lightning and a great song can be crafted into shape, with chords and arrangement, as quick as a flash. To capture a sound, a feeling and a truth on tape, though… that’s a whole other thing.
There are plenty of great songs about – but not many great records. The only problem with technology making it easy for anyone to make music… is that anyone can make music. Making a record, a good record, requires technical skills, of course, but it also demands that the facilitators handle the material with an unflinching eye for the straight line from composition to completion. Windmill has cracked it.
The Liverpool band has created an ethereal mix of atmospheric folk, that recalls the sounds of Love, The Velvet Underground and Calexico. Led by Mick Dolan and produced by David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer (Shack, Space), Windmill dropped first single, ‘Birdman’, well over a year ago and built up interest the old fashioned way: word of mouth. Now, their debut album ‘Wanderlust’ has arrived and the time spent in the studio finishing the record has paid off. It’s a beautiful sounding piece and one with an atmosphere all of its own.
Yes, the drones are courtesy of many years spent with The Velvet Underground, but the delicate acoustic guitar stylings and soft summer rain harmonies take the tunes from Lou Reed’s east coast to Arthur Lee and Love’s west coast: this is music made with an aesthetic in mind and the album’s sequencing is seamless, as familiar melodies meander in and out of each other and are coloured in by mournful trumpet, longing cello and delicate electric guitar flourishes.
When Thea Gilmore recently put out an album of undiscovered Sandy Denny songs, we think this lot were invited to the initial listening party, with songs like the gorgeous ‘How Many Times’ and the haunting ‘Blind’ capturing magic on disc. Windmill stand out from the crowd with the dreamy vocals of Dawn Williams on top of everything – but it’s on the Dolan-sung ‘Jenny’s Gone’ that the group really puts on the style and takes its place on the top table of Scouse folklore at the right hand of Michael Head.
Windmill create a world of their own and put forth a case for the rest being just noise. Let’s hope, when the band go around again, they take the rest of us with them.
‘Wanderlust’ by Windmill is out now
Pic by John Johnson