Keeping the classic fuzz and energy of indie rock and roll alive and kicking, Winchester 7 & the Runners lead with infectious, anthem-like songwriting and a clear sense of oneness.
Beginning with the distortion and joyfulness of When the World Stops Spinning, all at once we get a bold display of intention and a love for the process. The accompanying video allows for greater appreciation of this nostalgic manner of sound design. A touch of raw, psychedelic rock, and immediately relatable, naturally passionate vocals.
Underneath the initial sound is of course the songwriting, and this opening track lays bare a distinct level of longing and perhaps the implication of an artistic look at life and its inevitable end. However, the band have stated the song was actually written in response to reading about the break up of The Beatles – the concept of the world still spinning meaning that reunion was still possible. In the end, the cleverly vague writing style and these short lines mean it’s easy to make the song your own; attach your own meaning as you join in for that catchy hook.
I noticed the unusual blending of instruments in the first video, and it comes to light a little more notably in The Golden Age. Ukulele makes an unexpected appearance in the band’s set-up – the heavy fuzz and fullness detracting a little from its delicacy. This is actually in place of guitars throughout the catalogue, which makes it all the more impressive!
Here we get a quickly engaging, enjoyable leading riff and progression. The melody too weaves its way through the soundscape in a brilliantly satisfying fashion – the subtly descending tune letting these lines kick in with addictive and again anthem-like presence. And then there’s the superb drop into electronic, amplified colour and chaos.
There’s an alternative air of creativity to this, a provocative sense of classic nostalgia alongside a carefree approach to structuring – the placement of the instrumental breaks. The start and end of the video furthers all of this. The band reflect on times that have passed by, and their sound effectively reignites those times in a powerful yet refreshing way.
The Saint Simon Killer is the third single from the band to cross our pathway this summer, and it’s perhaps their most striking yet.
Driving with an attention-grabbing fusion of dark synths and an almost goth-rock vocal softness alongside a notable bass-line, the single effectively highlights the uninhibited versatility of the band, and further showcases their strength of songwriting.
You’d be forgiven for wondering if this wasn’t a different line-up or set-up from Winchester 7 & the Runners, though the songwriting style is decidedly familiar – short lines, a rise and fall, anticipation and resolve. The drum work is impressive here, standing tall amidst the arrangement, while these effected riffs and solos rain down elsewhere.
A strong collection, and far from the extent of their creative reach so far – there’s plenty of music available online, throughout various platforms. More than this in fact, Winchester 7 & the Runners are easily the sort of day-time festival band we can look forward to having grace our stages once again as things hopefully, someday, begin to return to some state of normality.