An elegant blend of modern
fervor with an old-world charm, Birthday Party glistens with a timeless
yet quirky pop panache. Primarily cello, mandolin, vocals, and percussion,
The Winks are entirely void of any of the instruments traditionally
used within rock music. Yet the structure, song writing, and execution
suggests a contemporary and pop spirit, rich with “hooks”.
However, Birthday Party is,
no doubt, the darkest of The Winks creative output, slanting the album
title towards a moodier implication; a birthday party representing
the overwhelming, daunting, and powerful sensation of growing older;
celebratory, yet severe. It is an exploration of the bitter-sweet
act of life itself.
Essentially a duo, with the
rest of the band in rotation, The Winks is Todd MacDonald on mandolin
and vocals, and Tyr Jami on cello and vocals. An ambiguous couple,
Todd and Tyr have been The Winks for a number of years, initially
an improvised instrumental duo which gradually obtained more and more
structure. Other members, whether on a more permanent level or as
a sit-in for the studio, include Tim Sars on baritone saxophone, Paul
Patko (Winning, The Red Light Sting) on drums, and Juno award winning
violinist, Jesse Zubot. The result has a collective essence; a kind
of open-door ease and sense of relaxation, like a musical party, or
Birthday Party is technically
The Winks eighth release, the first five being limited edition CD-Rs,
followed by a full length on Swim Slowly Records, and a split with
their side-project (with Andy Dixon AKA Secret Mommy), Tights, on
Drip Audio Records. With each release, the duo harvests a sharper
focus and deeper sense of purpose, which garners an escalating amount
of critical acclaim.
Enter Birthday Party, The
Winks at their most luxuriant and spectacular. Full of profound, vivid
melodies, it chimes and lulls with a staggering originality and mood.
There is a focus to this full length so powerful that one can’t help
but feel that there is a ‘right place at the right time’ alignment
of the stars.
"The structure of songwriting within The
Winks suggests a contempory and pop spirit, rich with smart hooks,
giving the music this kind of timeless feel to it... this is a great
record full of profound and vivid melodies that just keep on revealing
little details and nuances." - Semtex
"Tyr Jami and Todd Macdonald trade off
their Bjork/Bright Eyes-reminiscent vocals over a teeming mix, building
offbeat pop structures around their playful cello and mandolin, along
with welcome contributions of violin, flute, keys, sax and electronics...
this is pure musical lunacy at its best." -
"...a swirling blend of sugarcoated indie-pop
fleshed out with memorable melodies through woodwinds, strings and
percussion... I wouldn’t be surprised if The Winks get doused
in bucket full of hype" - Audioversity