Windsor for the Derby
Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., May 24, 2002
Windsor for the DerbyThe Emotional Rescue (Aesthetics)
Windsor for the DerbyEarnest Powers + (Emperor Jones) Which of the following does not describe the longtime sort-of-local group Windsor for the Derby? 1.) cerebral. 2.) groovy. 3.) sappy. Anyone who's heard these mostly instrumental post-rockers, split between Austin and New York since core member Dan Matz left for the Big Apple in 1996, would answer No. 3 in a heartbeat. This is a band that, in their time here as a regularly performing unit, never really felt comfortable in a club, only able to truly stretch their wings in oddball venues where they could consume the listener's attention with their sublime, multi-part hypno-rock epics. Well, in the time since Matz left town, the band's sound has given way to the song. Matz and the other Windsor principal, Austinite Jason McNeely, have reinvented Windsor for the Derby on their fourth proper LP, The Emotional Rescue. Where the old Windsor was tight and lean, the new Windsor is sparse, easygoing, and filled with vocals. Love songs, even. The lyrical prowess is here, but the detached, half-spoken vocals make the album sound like the emotional investment isn't. The real crime of this change, though, is shelving the rhythm in favor of a droll, meandering accompaniment. Only McNeely's title track, maybe the sappiest song of them all, really works, because it's full of energy and rhythm, yet still shows off the band's rich instrumental prowess. For a full primer on the old Windsor, Emperor Jones brings us Earnest Powers +, a new odds-and-ends collection. A band that has always been concerned with album flow, Windsor appears to have stockpiled some quality material. Earnest Powers + is a brisk walk through Windsor's enthralling web of circular grooves, including a pair of very successful drum-machine experiments. It jams, and it's got a playfulness about it -- it's Windsor for the Derby's Ciccone Youth, only they bring their strong A-game to these B-sides.
(The Emotional Rescue)
(Earnest Powers +)