steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Declining Winter

"Goodbye Minnesota" CD

Rusted Rail

Genre: folk, post-rock, experimental

Leeds, England

Mar 6, 2009

Also on Indieville: The Declining Winter's Richard Vincent Adams selects his ten crucial records!

The Declining Winter is Richard Vincent Adams (also of Hood), an unconventional songwriter with an eye for experimental folk pop. Goodbye Minnesota is a very satisfying debut album, and it's been put out in a nifty cardboard sleeve courtesy of the charming Rusted Rail label.

This largely instrumental disc is a wistful, highly atmospheric expedition, although it retains a melodic quality that makes it especially listenable. Often, Adams' songs sound like excerpts from film scores - which is a good thing, to be clear. The folky twang of "We Used to Read Books," for example, conjures up images of a dusty Mojave desert at dusk, and "Goodbye Minnesota" might accompany a slow aerial shot of a depressed suburbia. Adams enlists the help of his friends on several of these tracks, although the majority of the sound comes from himself and the computer wizardry of Christopher Adams. Unwilling to produce traditional 'songs,' Adams designs meandering experiments that can best be conceptualized as moodpieces - whether they are instrumental post-rock dabbles like "Last Train to Maple Grove" and "To Know Gospel", or more fleshed out offerings like "Oh God C'mon" and "Hey, Nick Heyward" (the latter of which is vaguely reminiscent of "Love Plus One"). As such, the vocals don't contribute much to the songs' melodies, instead offering an additional atmospheric element to the proceedings.

Since Goodbye Minnesota isn't afraid to experiment, it doesn't really qualify as a pop album - even though these soundscapes are often remarkably infectious. Instead, culling influence from folk, post-rock, and electronic music, Adams has produced a uniquely engaging record that deserves to be heard by adventurous music lovers.

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Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]