steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Declining Winter

"Haunt the Upper Hallways" 7" + CD

Home Assembly Music

Genre: post rock, experimental rock

Leeds, England

October 2009

The Declining Winter, formed by Hood alum Richard Adams, brings us their second album proper in Haunt the Upper Hallways. Right from the opening post-rock lulls of the title track, one can sense the steady influence of acts like Windsor For The Derby, L'altra, and - of course - Hood. This is lush, atmospheric rock music - adorned with hushed vocals, glistening keys, and a respectable strings section.

Expansive would be an appropriate word to describe the general layout of this record. Adams employs fairly typical post-rock guitar lines and rhythms, but builds elaborate architectures around them. The emphasis is not concentrated on melody, but instead on mood. Consider the urgent strings of "Hey EFD", or the attentive elegance of instrumental "Come on Feel the Willingness" and "Goodbye Lights LS28." Meanwhile, epic "Carta Remix" layers a solemn, reverberating trumpet over a bed of backmasked keys; the effect conjures up images of wistful autumn evenings.

Although undeniably elaborate, the charm embedded within Haunt the Upper Hallways is relatively straightforward in its effect. Adams and The Declining Winter have crafted a serious and somewhat sombre record here. Owing to its position in the post-rock canon, it lacks the immediacy of a hook-centric record, but its carefully constructed atmosphere is one that can be increasingly appreciated over time.

[N.B. My copy was on CD only, but the official version features a three-track 7" with the full album on bonus CD.]

the declining winter's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released June 29, 2009]