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Windsor For The Derby | Giving Up The Ghost (Secretly Canadian)
On 2002's 'The Emotional Rescue LP' and 2004's 'We Fight 'Til Death', Windsor For The Derby ringleaders Dan Matz and Jason McNeely discovered that avant-folk ambience and balmy Krautrock grooves sat far better with their songs than anything from their rather more austere post-rock back catalogue.  'Giving Up The Ghost', the latest Windsor long-player, follows in the footprints of those two enthralling latter-day releases, whilst making a few intriguing steps backwards as well as sideways.
In terms of self-referencing continuity, the gorgeous Empathy For People Unknown provides the bridge back to 'We Fight 'Til Death', with insistent Beach Boys harmonies latched to driving insistent keyboards, whilst the dreamy title-track and the closing Every Word You Ever Said echo the elliptical acoustics of 'Emotional Rescue'.  Amidst these progressions come some reactionary redirections.  An approach which sees the murky Praise and the aptly named Shadows plough Joy Division grinding into Cocteau Twins fragility and Durutti Column density, with the same religious fervour as our beloved Piano Magic.  The searing Gathering takes further into a darkened maelstrom, with a bloody Mary Chain-meets-Sonic Youth guitar duel leading to plenty of exhilarating sonic carnage.  
It's a heady challenging mixture of settings for the evolving Windsor song palette.  It will certainly take some tough listening to soften up the melodies buried within, but overall 'Giving Up The Ghost' is a cathartic exorcism worth some devoted listening.

Adrian Pannett
October 2005