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The Long Winters | When I Pretend To Fall (Barsuk/Munich)
I might sound like a broken record here, but The Long Winters' second album for Barsuk Records again proves this label's impeccable quality control. John Roderick's first effort on Barsuk under the Long Winters moniker, 'The Worst You Can Do is Harm', was very much a solo effort, but here he's put a four man band together, expanding the goings-on considerably giving the overall sound a less airy and spacious feel than its predecessor. Strange pop indeed, awash with loads of guest appearances, including fellow producer and multi-instrumentalist Ken Stringfellow.
Roderick's CV encompasses being a drunk hobo and an alt-rock also-ran, and his lyrics reflect his past and present meanderings about  relationships gone bad if they get off the ground at all ("You are faking/so I pretend sleeping /waiting for this to be fun" - Scared Straight. "I feel like this is happening in tree time/I stand up and toast the TV for getting it right" - Blue Diamonds).
His revolving cast of indie-superstars besides Stringfellow include Peter Buck, Sean Ripple (AmAnSet) and Chris Walla (Death Cab), all take a backseat to Roderick's inventive musical and lyrical whims.
Highlights include the Stones-fuelled New Girl, the great horn-enhanced Scared Straight and the-long-lost-love gem Cinnamon ("Is it Spring where you are/I waited all Winter/chasing the lamp cords back to the wall").

Torbjørn Wickman
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003