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Album Review: Winter "Supreme Blue Dream"

Winter: Supreme Blue Dream

Quick Review: Winter's first full-length album is a treat for both the longtime fan of dream pop and shoegaze as well as young newcomers to the genre. Supreme Blue Dream is a beautiful and picturesque soundscape of lush emotion, excitement, and longing. Overall it is a satisfying listen for anyone who may have an interest in chilled-out indie pop or in escaping the monotony of everyday life with this tiny dose of dreamy escapism. 

Full Review: Winter is a band led by Samira Winter on vocals and guitar, originally formed as a collaboration between her and friend Nolan Eley while studying together in Boston. The band has since then blossomed into a larger outfit after moving to California and recruiting additional band members Matt Hogan, David Broyles, and Garren Orr.  After releasing an EP and a string of singles, Winter has released their debut, Supreme Blue Dream, on Lollipop Records, in March 2015. The band has been described as “a blissful mixture of indie, sunshine, and shoegaze,” a statement that any listener will agree with upon realizing that is album is one that will no doubt be on repeat throughout not just winter, but all seasons this year. 

Imagine diving into a pool of cold water, the pale blue waves splashing up around you in quickly disappearing fragments, each one reflecting the sky. Imagine taking a long drink of ice water after a jog through the park on a hot summer morning. Imagine setting off on a daydream roadtrip while an open canvas marks the miles in your mind. Put all of those images together – or take them in pieces – and that’s what the debut album from LA-based dream pop band Winter sounds like. 

“Someone Like You” is an upbeat opening track that explores a variety of sounds, from glitchy synths to atmospheric landscapes of reverb. In fact, the layers in the song blur together and create an overwhelming – yet relaxing – atmosphere that entrances the listener. The next track, “Crazy,” contains a melody warmly reminiscent of classic 60s pop tunes. The lyrics float overtop with an infatuation and longing that can only describe the sunny optimism of a best friend or a first crush. “Pretender” follows, an ironically-titled contrast to the previous song, but with words that float aimlessly into to thin air.

“Strange Emotion” is a beautiful example of how the genre of dream pop has evolved and molded its new sound into the 2010s. That is, suppressed vocals, guitar reverb and distortion, and relaxing atmospheres with a distinct hint of shoegaze influence. “Some Kind of Surprise” hits deep and marks the halfway point of the album as a song full of youthful wonder, hope, and uncertainty about the future. And the horn section near the end is indeed a surprise, but highlights the song appropriately without feeling out of place.

“Like I Do” is a breezy track featuring layers of vocals and instrumentation overtop a simple progression of acoustic strumming. “Waiting for the Summer” is the anxious – yet strangely and simultaneously, patient - lead single from the album that seems fitting to the band’s name. “Flower Tattoo” has the sound of a straightforward indie pop hit complete with fuzzy guitar tones and glittering background beats. “Don’t Stay Away” follows suit with waterfalls of sound that spiral downwards beneath lyrics of battling loneliness with desire. The closing track, “Expectations,” provides a conclusive finale to the album and end it with forgiveness, resolution, and ultimately a positive outlook on the reality that follows daydreams. 

Overall, Winter is a fantastic new indie band that cannot be ignored. Whether they continue to produce a modern blend of lush dream pop and shoegaze, or decide to explore more electronic or synth styles, they are a band that has offered us one of 2015’s most lovely hidden gems of the year so far. Although the band name might throw you off upon first listen – let’s face it, there is nothing cold about this album – Supreme Blue Dream is a perfect soundtrack for the lazy days of summertime. Or alternately, it will be there to commemorate nostalgia for those same days once snowflakes are upon us and days zoom by as the months fall forward in time yet again. 

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