Bat­tles of Winter’s sec­ond album At Once with Tat­tered Sails was released (down­load only) on Sep­tem­ber 23. “The dif­fi­cult sec­ond album?” the band announce on their Face­book page. Hav­ing giv­en the album a metaphor­i­cal spin (actu­al­ly, about ten), my answer to that is a def­i­nite no. This new offer­ing from BoW exudes con­fi­dence – the band have stepped out­side of the ter­ri­to­ry of first album Stand­ing at the Flood­gates to pro­duce a col­lec­tion of nuanced and explo­rative material.

BoW have been plug­ging The Wrong Port – their sec­ond sin­gle – on social media, a track which feels more con­ven­tion­al­ly struc­tured and most teth­ered to their first album. It’s the first track, Fal­cons, with its pow­er­ful open­ing notes, that encap­su­lates the band’s new explo­rative phase. This is a mes­meris­ing, self-assured num­ber with Alis­tair Gail’s vocals sound­ing dis­tinct­ly Mor­ris­sey-esque at the start.

Bat­tles of Win­ter know how to do ten­sion and they exploit this effec­tive­ly. Death in the Lemon Grove and Hare Hunter’s Field lay on the dra­ma with Gail’s doomy vocals per­fect for these mys­te­ri­ous and atmos­pher­ic num­bers, which con­jure up scenes and images with­out spelling out the nar­ra­tive too lit­er­al­ly. Influ­en­tial­ly, there is still the ener­gy of Edi­tors, and a cou­ple of nods, lyri­cal­ly, to British Sea Pow­er (Favours in the Beet­root Fields).

After the first album I described BoW as ‘deep, lay­ered, sonorous and dra­mat­ic’ – this new album dis­plays a matu­ri­ty which I trust brings them a legion of new fans – they deserve it.


Bat­tles of Win­ter play a free gig in Cam­den at The Uni­corn on 25th November.

Mem­bers: Alis­tair Gale (vocals/guitar) Lucas Man­ley (gui­tar) Graeme Din­ning (bass) Mar­tin Good (drums)

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