The Long Winters When I Pretend to Fall

[Barsuk; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie rock
Others: Low, Early Day Miners

John Roderick's Long Winters are a pretty little band with a pretty little name that conjures up snow days (naturally) and snowy music, something like Low or the Early Day Miners. Their previous album, The Worst You Can Do is Harm, was a forgettable affair with a couple of gems ("Carparts") that made the release of a new 'un something of interest. At first listen, When I Pretend to Fall seems equally forgettable, even a little ingratiating on jesus-christ-so-fuckin'-earnest numbers like "Cinnamon." But like the crafty tick, the Long Winters burrow under your skin and get "Her skin is cinnamuh-uhn!" stuck in your head, no matter how far you dig the Q-tip into your ear. Most of the other songs are less guilty pleasures, though; the first half of the album is solid top to bottom, and songs like "Stupid" prop up the second half. Try to forget about the last track, though; let's not kid ourselves-- "Nora" is a real piece of shit. That said, "When I Pretend to Fall" comes so close to breaking that 8.0 barrier that it hurts. I wondered why I felt so lame for liking some of these songs, and realized that it was because they're all so...normal! With bands like the Liars, Black Dice, even the Rapture strutting about packed clubs, a band that sounds like R.E.M. has a tough time of things. The last time I saw Ken Stringfellow (the Posies), only a few people showed up. But don't lie to yourself; the Long Winters have made a solid pop album. Now if you kids would kindly drop those John Vanderslice records...

1. Blue Diamonds
2. Scared Straight
3. Shapes
4. Cinnamon
5. Bride and Bridle
6. Blanket Hog
7. It'll Be a Breeze
8. Stupid
9. Prom Night at Hater High
10. New Girl
11. The Sound of Coming Down
12. Nora

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