16 June 2018

The Winter Hill Transmission - The Winter Hill Transmission

They say that good things come to those who wait.  If you’ve been a fan of The Winter Hill Transmission, then you might question how long you have to wait.  The Winter Hill Transmission has been together for at least eight years, maybe longer.  I can only guess when they started, mainly because their FB page and website does not supply a date when they formed.  However, the first post on Facebook is from 2010 and I know that I saw them supporting Thomas Truax at the Tyneside Cinema that year as well.  They’ve regularly played shows in the UK, performing their brilliant music and yet there has never been an album.  Until now that is, as they finally released their self-titled debut record! 

The artwork was created by Jim Edwards, it’s a painting called ‘Yellow Fields and Pylons’.  If you want to check out some of his other artwork, there will be a link below the review.  Now, let’s get back to the album.  When you think about the length of time between forming and releasing their debut self-titled record, it’s been quite a long time.  They even give a nod towards this, acknowledging this on the thank you section on their website.  They state the existence of this record is proof that they do something on Wednesday nights.  If I’m being honest, no matter how long the wait.  It's such a relief to actually see them release something.  They have been classed as one of the best-kept secrets of the North East music scene for many years.  But because they’ve taken so long to release their debut, have they waited too long?  Well, thankfully not too long.

The Winter Hill Transmission is an album that contains ten indie folk tales, with the lyrics written by Rhythm Guitarist and Vocalist Ben Holland.  The rest of the band is formed with Pete Moffat on Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals, Neil Reynolds on Bass and Andy Lofthouse on Keyboards/Backing Vocals.  The album featured drummer Tom Bacon, but he’s not mentioned on the TWHT Facebook page, so I’ve no idea if he’s still in the band.  However, what I can comment on is the music.  Over the ten songs, TWHT create a series of little worlds for you to explore.  Each one is as gentle as a breeze, as strong as an Ox and completely memorable.  Opening with the beautiful “Jupiter”, TWHT eases you in gently to their world.  The video for this song is about an amateur spaceman trying to leave the planet.  It’s a beautiful video and a brilliant song, one which gently introduces the band.  “Satellites” for me is one of their best song, a little stomping number that works its way under your skin and stays in your mind for hours after it’s finished.  “How Could We Ever Know” is another song which lingers long after it’s completed but in a good way.  It captures the uncertainty of love and trying to find something is fleeting is beautiful, it melts the heart and it also sounds fantastic.  By the time you reach "Matador", you know you've been through a beautiful journey that stays with you long after it's finished.

Much like the sound of the North West being eternally linked to Joy Division, the sound of The Winter Hill Transmission could not have originated anywhere else in the world apart from the North East of England.  It’s hard to explain, but when you listen to this album, you’ll hear the sound of the area where I grew up.  So, for me, this is a special album.  It’s a gentle record, one that contains hidden depths to immerse yourself in.  Are there any issues?  Nope, this is a mighty fine album.  I wish it was a tad longer, but after so many years of waiting, I think that this is a natural reaction.  The Winter Hill Transmission is a brilliant (and long overdue) debut album, one that will fit perfectly in the collection of any music fan.  The sooner you get yourself a copy, the happier your life will be.  However, given their track record, I’ll be expecting a follow up sometime in the next decade……...

9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.....

Top track - How Could We Ever Know

 You can purchase The Winter Hill Transmission at The Winter Hill Transmission Bandcamp page here.

You can purchase The Winter Hill Transmission on Amazon here. 

You can follow the activities of The Winter Hill Transmission on Facebook here.

You can stream The Winter Hill Transmission on Spotify here.

You can stream The Winter Hill Transmission on Deezer here.

You can stream The Winter Hill Transmission on Tidal here.

You can find out more about Jim Edwards on his website here. 

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