It seems there are few bands with names as apt as Windings, a group whose latest collection of tracks echo this sentiment with every twist, turn and mournful meander. A one-time one-man band, with roots in Limerick hardcore duo Giveamanakick and Steve Ryan’s 2005 album of the same name, the now five strong band’s third record is deliciously devious, showcasing some surprisingly dark themes such as isolation, desolation, disillusionment and anger.
Opener ‘Sun In My Bones’, a sombre song full of disarming charm, proves a slow burner, not a million miles away from the lighter side of Giveamanakick. Heart-wrenching tones entwined with some truly anguished lyrics – “things I see when I close my eyes / People singing about a past I can’t recognise” – make for a treat of a track. Before you can get too comfortable, however, a mid-album crescendo begins with ‘Alkaterian Are Alright’ – “breathe in, slow down, sleep in” – which rushes into the off-beat structure of thundering, chanting number ‘This Is A Conversation’. Title track ‘I Am Not The Crow’ brings up the rear rounding off an intensely raw and emotional mid-section with some frantic, post-hardcore thrashing.
In keeping with the likeable irregularity of the album as a whole, closing songs ‘In Need Of Some Repair’ and ‘Local Broken Man’ end the album on a much quieter note – descending into the lonesome and desolated “towns of carcassed concrete caverns” while still managing some uplifting undertones when “the brightest light did shine”. Offering an incredibly eclectic mix of songs with a range not often seen these days, I Am Not The Crow features songs both flavoured with folk and peppered with some more progressive material. Here Windings manage the hard task of playing the rough off the smooth to create a confident, sure-footed, and finely honed collection. Easily one of the best Irish albums of 2012.