Wintermittens – Unable to Leave a Message on a Delicate Matter

4 out of 5

Label: Bent Records

Produced by: Wintermittens (?)

Weird and woozy, and then suddenly catchy, and direct, and touching.

Wintermittens brings together Fuck-ster Geoff Soule and Thinking Fellers-adjacent Gibbs Chapman, alongside bandmate Rick Weldon. The trio offer up strange, wandering 4-minute ditties that are occasionally pop, and occasionally riffy; occasionally sad; occasionally indescribable – shimmers of noise from which rhythm emerges.

The title of the album feels very relevant: the music, and lyrics, always seem on the verge of blossoming into something powerful – delicate indeed; beautiful; emotive – but then it shuffles away, or twists its troubled tone into a smile, utters some strange words in a strange voice and turns back around to try again. The two mentioned musical touchpoints create quite the nexus of sounds, with Soule’s band’s sweet and silliness (and then underlying soulfulness) apparent, buoyed by his pleasant vocal lilt, and then TFUL282’s jank and edge are there as well, with odd samples and sounds abounding and (maybe) Chapman coming in with a more off-key and croaky croon.

But Wintermittens isn’t as dedicatedly slocore as Fuck can be, nor is it the unremitting outsider art of the Fellers. I wouldn’t call it accessible, really, but it is surprisingly immersive, flowing like a dream from its discordant moments to its beautiful ones; its sounds and instrument bashing seeming very far away from being a song, and then suddenly it is a song, with a hook, and a delightfully melodic chorus. ‘Tis a strange beast. As such, it’s also a pretty memorable thing, with its rhythms and strangeness becoming more familiar and desirable as it goes along. That memory – and that sense that any given track is a moment away from some type of revealing flourish – make it worth returning to.