Album Reviews

The Winston Giles Orchestra – Soundtracks For Sunrise

(Playup) UK release date: 8 October 2007

Winston Giles Orchestra - Soundtracks For Sunrise Australia’s The Winston Giles Orchestra specialise in chilled out and uplifting electronica. This is an enjoyable album that fulfils its promise. Given our current weather I’m not sure why you’d want to try to watch the sunrise (seriously, can anyone remember what the sun actually looks like?), but if you wanted to then this album would certainly provide you with an emotive accompaniment to daybreak.

If wine expert Jilly Goolden was sniffing this sonic bouquet she’d say that there’s an Avalanches aroma to this vintage, with a hint of Zero 7, but the taste is unmistakably Lemon Jelly, leaping out at you with every opportunity.

The album’s standout is Welcome To The Hotel, which is a great track reminiscent of The Flaming Lips‘s most psychedelic moments, complete with some vocals sounding suspiciously like Wayne Coyne. The musical motifs on this track are pleasingly reprised in the album’s latter stages. There’s also touches of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin at some stages.

The first half of the album is sample heavy, with speech plundered from a variety of sources. The infectious Lemon Jelly clone A Little Song seems to take its samples from a children’s programme from the ’70s, and maintains that playful attitude. As the CD continues the dreamy feel kicks in as you lift off to more blessed-out and relaxing territories.

The success of this year’s Big Chill festival means that there’s still an appetite for well-crafted music like this and their upcoming tour is likely to be worth catching.

But here’s the problem with this album – judged by its own merits, it’s fairly accomplished and uplifting, but it was recorded and originally released in Australia in 2004 and has dated in the three years since.

This was originally intended to be the first part in a four-part opus. Like episodes of Neighbours and Home & Away the story has moved on considerably since the original was made. There’s already been one follow up album released and a second is currently being finished.

If the truth be told I’d much rather hear those so I can see if the Orchestra is fulfilling their promise. Instead this comes across as a slightly retro-ish trip back in time to when chill ruled the roost.

By today’s standards it does sound a tad unoriginal, but this is no fault of the musicians, more the record industry’s eccentric logic. It would be good to see if the remaining albums can hold their own, and it would certainly be worth finding out.

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