Winchester 7 & The Runners - The Waking Giant - Stereo Stickman

Winchester 7 & The Runners The Waking Giant


Conceptual depth of focus and fiercely contemporary design – Ukulele rock outfit Winchester 7 and the Runners prepare to launch their latest and arguably greatest album yet.

The Waking Giant features a superb collection of original songs, and blends the band’s iconic pop rock sound with a twist of intriguing storytelling and purpose.

The Waking Giant tells the tale of a tech investor recruiting a virtual reality developer…

With all of the technological virtual reality and AI strides of late, we imagined that a savvy tech investor might recruit a VR developer to help him build an environment that could be marketed to pensioners, preppers, and the well-to-do. The idea being that one could immerse themselves full-time into this artificial environment while their physical body is maintained in a very secure, exclusive facility. But, after the developer is on the hook, he looks to wedge in an AI that one of his other investments has been developing, to cut back on administrative overhead by using it as an environmental governor.” (Read the full interview.)

Nine tracks make up the project, including one that provides an alternative perspective from the AI itself. We begin with Two Feet On The Ground, a seemingly harmless indie-pop arrangement, colourful melodies and paired vocals distantly mixed, as we venture through unclear storylines towards the familiar refrain of the title and hook. Mix in a minimal yet recognisable guitar solo, and the song makes for a bright and effective scene-setter for the new project.

We then move into the notably more interestingly titled Sell The Apocalypse, a track that proves an absolute anthem of an earworm and groove. The uniquely dark lyrics and brighter melody unite well with the natural rock energy of Winchester 7 & The Runners, making this an easy highlight from the band’s entire repertoire. This is also a key point in the overall journey of The Waking Giant, being the song that relays the investor’s original pitch to the developer.

On The Pipeline follows, the Developer’s response song – a wonderfully nostalgic soft-rock and pop vibe suiting the vocal choir and meandering instruments beautifully. Once again, the music takes precedence over the stories, but that’s a winning approach in my view. Some of the most fascinating albums from throughout time are those that appear to be simple songs to outside listeners, enjoyable ones no less, but to the avid fans and repeat visitors – there’s a whole world of story, depth, and intention to unravel.

Arrangement always matters, and the band refuse to lose us within The Waking Giant. The mood softens, the intensity drops to almost acoustic levels, as Scared Of Changing presents a more intimate and self-reflective take on the current state of affairs. Then for Stories To Tell, we’re plunged into a kind of other-worldly, sci-fi synth and electronic vocal realm. Poetic observations remind us of the darker depths of this conceptual project, and a female vocal harmony adds further diversity and charm to the collection. A haunting highlight.

Dreaming In Color brings back the more recognisable Winchester 7 & The Runners sound – the multiple voices, the distortion, that balancing of melancholy and optimism, of poetry and literal scenes. After which, the lighter indie rock approach of Disassociation brings an unexpectedly spoken vocal and boldly old-school rock production, for a distinctly atmospheric, softly cinematic edge of dynamic; and another key point in the storyline.

For the extended version of this album, Winchester 7 & The Runners include a cover of Not Dead Yet – a suddenly country-folk moment of upbeat reflection that feels cleverly relevant to all that came to pass. And the rockier weight and groove of Find Me A Place delivers a similar ode to the inspirations behind the band’s history, and again smartly fits in with the modern day storyline of humanity and AI seeking to find space for one another.

A thoroughly enjoyable album, in short – perhaps their best work yet for its combination of likable songwriting, musical versatility, and provocative conceptual intention. These are real and current threats, and this is a real and relevant band absolutely worth checking out this year.

The Waking Giant EP releases on May 3rd. Find Winchester 7 & The Runners on Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter & Instagram or visit their Website.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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