The Winter Project’s “Brighter Days” captures a wry observational humor on “Brighter Days?”. Lyrics have a thoughtful reflective quality reminiscent of David Berman’s work with the Silver Jews and Purple Mountains. Full of intricate detail every single word matters for the Winter Project prove to be impressive storytellers. Narratives of woe, of hope, yearning, these all serve as vignettes of a life lived completely and honestly. Vocals here have a mixture of the blues, country, and classic rock. Completely commanding the whole of the album deserves to be played loudly, for it is a force of nature to be reckoned with in the best way possible. Each song serves as a mere suite in a greater symphony for it simply covers so much ground.
Instrumentally the Winter Project has a heartfelt earnestness to it. Arrangements recall an early 90s alt rock flavor, touching upon the earnestness of the Archers of Loaf, Pavement, and of course of the aforementioned Silver Jews. The energy that fuels this feels visceral as it speeds along at a breakneck pace. Refusing to ever slow down, the Winter Project blazes through with a wide-eyed intensity. By allowing their riffs to get a little grit behind them it all feels so real, so vital. Impressive chops adorn the whole of the album, from the wild guitar work to the force of nature approach of the rhythm section.
“Long Gone” sets the tone for what follows with a wild, unhinged spirit. Layer upon layer intermingles creating a grand tapestry of sound. The true highlight of the album comes from the confrontational “Industry” which opens up swinging. Quite maddening it goes through a countless number of contortions, as the lyrics paint a portrait of true urgency. For “Breathe” they go for a gentler approach in some ways. “Better” sings the song of the underdog with a piece that has a strong, consistent rhythm that drives through with a curious western twang. Nimble percussion anchors the communal spirit of “Indifference” which veers through countless emotions. On “Answer Key” they strip things down to the absolute essentials, for the way they let the track build up feels majestic. Absolutely gorgeous, the bass and guitar weave together to create a spellbinding tapestry. Ending the whole of the album on a joyous, celebratory note is the low-key playfulness of “Tommy Dyes His Hair”.
“Brighter Days” proves to be a slice of brilliance, showing off the Winter Project’s uncanny ability to craft an entire world, so familiar and vital.