[26 November 2006]
Minneapolis band the Winter Blanket have made a name for themselves locally by playing sleepy, delicate melodies. Their new EP, Golden Sun, showcases six of these lullabies, bolstered by country slides and the occasional bit of feedback. Songwriter/vocalists Stephanie Davila and Doug Miller do equal time on the record, but Davila’s “Sink or Swim” is the obvious standout. The problem with the Winter Blanket is that though their melodies are catchy, pretty, and at times moving, the vocals don’t match. On the first two tracks, “Sleepy Eyes” and “Cold”, Davila’s voice is an almost tuneless, whispered hiss; an empty shell where there should be substance. Miller doesn’t do much better—his low, creaking tone recalls Dean Wareham, but with less personality. The Winter Blanket’s songs speak for themselves, however, and the down-home beauty of “Neil Young Blues” and “Sink or Swim” can’t be ignored. The only thing holding this band back is their detached, thin presence. Sleepy indie rock is not a bad thing, but those creating it should be awake. If Davila and Miller start to sound a little too bored, this record could actually put someone to sleep. And it’d be a shame to miss such good songwriting.