Updated: Sep 3, 2019
From their first EP release in 2014, James Draper and Jordan Brady’s Winterbourne have been stealing hearts across the country with their infectious onstage banter and soaring folk ballads. With national tours under their belt, both support and headliner, recording songs both at home and overseas, an enormous amount of time and dedication has gone into making this album, and every goddamn second is worth it.
Today comes the release of Echo of Youth, a succinct 12 track record that both delivers thematically compelling ideologies, whilst delivering incredibly hip-moving melodies and dare I say it, but Winterbourne have dropped one of the finest releases of the year.
The records starts off in a heavenly bliss intro with Revolutionary Man. A song that sets the tone of the record. Littered with generational anxieties that have been dusted off and polished with vivid imagery. ‘Sitting in a shoebox in the sun / I shoot imaginary guns into my iPhone seventeen / ‘cause nothing that good ever happens to me’ sings James, gorgeously vocalising a social criticism that is addictive to the ears.
With 60’s undertones peppered across this album to this records, with tracks like 'Revolutionary Man', 'Milkshakes and Denial', you can feel a distinct other-generational vibe within their music. (Like, I 100% can see 'Milkshakes and Denial' be inserted into the Enchantment Under the Sea dance scene in Back to the Future). Whether this is Winterbourne taking inspiration from long time love of Simon and Garfunkel, or just the fact they the Central Coast lads are just old souls, there is a definite maturity that doesn’t feel old or behind the time. They are able to delicately combine those rich 60’s pop vibes, with a modern indie-rock grit that makes this album as grounded as it does dreamy.
Let’s skip to 'The Actors'. Oh my good God. Let’s talk about 'The Actors'. A sky rocketing high point of the album. A 2min 40sec powerhouse of a songs that a single that should’ve dropped years ago. But good things come to those who wait, because this belter brings a bolstering beauty that bleeds from its musicality and lyricism. ‘We are the dancers and hopeful romancers, we are the actors the extras in all your dreams’ boasts an optimistic exuberance that’s mirrored in melody. A tracks that sounds like a smile and one you’ll have on repeat for literally years.
Arriving at the conclusion of the titular track 'Echo of Youth'. An outro that encapsulates all the record has tried to say, a delicately climatic track exemplifies the growth of the band. Opening with a soft ‘Must be living on the wrong side of the water,’ Draper begins with a l’air of vulnerability however skip to five minutes later we are being overcome with a powerful instrumental. Turning those ongoing doubts into your strength is a powerful end to this gorgeous record. As if this song is epilogue of the journey to this album, it’s one that I want to drive down a highway and belt out my car window. This is an empowering one boys.
Each track bears its own personality of sorts, each standing out on its own in its own way, yet tied together with Draper’s signature timbre, they are so distinctly Winterbourne.
This album is easy listening meets indie rock. It’s folk imagery meets pop relatability. The Central Coast lads have weaved rich tapestry of folk beginnings, dream synths and driving rock. Winterbourne have grown, stripped back, taken detours, but they have arrived at the cross section they need to be, which is some really f*cking good songwriting.