Winchester 7 & the Runners – The Forgotten World – Review

Winchester 7 & the RunnersThere’s more to Winchester 7 & The Runners’ music than first meets the eye. You’d think this band was just your average “dad rock” band, but after listening for a very short time it becomes clear that these guys have radioactive chemistry and an ear for catchy melodies and beautifully interwoven chord progressions that defy stereotypes. Featuring vocalist Winchester 7, bassist Phil Voorhees, and drummer Jack Kane, Winchester 7 & The Runners deliver a psychedelic blend of garage rock, pop, and alternative rock with a hint of surf-wave. Based as a group of Atlanta, GA, the trio recently released its sophomore album, The Forgotten World.

Winchester 7 & the Runners – The Forgotten World

The first track on the album, “Lose Them Blues” is a song about letting go and moving on, filtered with a hazy sheen and invigorating drum crashes. The scratchy delayed guitar timbres resemble The Edge from U2 while the vocals have a ghostly bellowing vibrato similar to Jim Morrison.

“Jackpot Baby” features lyrics that are sung-spoken and an instrumental arrangement that shifts into unexpectedly pleasant contrasting song sections. This song is like creepy rock, almost like a more upbeat, less theatrical soundtrack to Nightmare Before Christmas, with Winchester’s spidery guitar solo pouring out under their growly, fluttery baritone vocals.

Contrasting to previous songs on the album so far, “Seems Like Yesterday (Mockingbird)” has an acoustic ukulele arrangement accompanied by hand-drummed percussion and peaceful touches of triangle and shaker. As the upliftingly simple arrangement continues to build upon itself, Winchester 7 utters poetic lyrics that use the term mockingbird as a metaphor for a lover. Another catchy pop guitar solo and then the original ukulele hook melody comes back in to bookend the piece.

An upbeat, foot shuffling jive pop-rock tune, “Unplug My Mind” gets the listener lost in the guitar hook just like the title and lyrics intend. It’s about the need to unwind and let go of all the worries of the world around you. A trippy left to right panning instrumental bridge grooves along with a twangy and bright guitar texture until arriving back at the guitar hook — lysergic shimmers of electronic textures shocking through the air at the end.

Another more uplifting song but still slow and washy like the wispy clouds in a bright, wide-open sky, “Roll On” offers cavernous backing harmonies and delayed vocal effects that add a sense of celestial openness and spatial contrast from the rest of the album. A positive and uplifting message for anyone going through a hard time, this song also features ukulele but with more backing instrumental arrangements than “Seems Like Yesterday (Mockingbird).”

“When She Drives” is a soft acoustic ukulele song, while “Cherry Cheesecake” is a more electric rock band song. With a fun, not too serious vibe, Winchester 7 shouts vocals with lyrics about “Cherry Cheesecake” to represent love. At the end of the song, everything suddenly stops and the song kicks into a quick little alternate shuffle, leaving bits of juicy information until the very end for the listener to enjoy.

Throughout the album, the ukulele is used in a way that is less island-beachy and more indie rock, a tasteful twist on a traditional instrument. Overall the tracks on the album seem to be mixed rather loudly, but the trio’s performance demonstrates a multi-faceted listening experience and a knack for thoughtful melodies.

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