Belle Attente is jangle folk rock/pop, pure and simple.
The '90s may have come and gone, but Ottawa, Ontario band Winchester Warm fondly remembers the decade. On their sophomore album, Belle Attente, they dig a sound that, while having a distinctness, resembles such groups as the Gin Blossoms, Del Amitri, and Hootie and the Blowfish. Yes, I know what you might think about that last one. I actually have a soft spot for Hootie, though – any band that covers 54.40 can't be all that bad, can they? Winchester Warm might balk at the comparison: this is a band that basically sits around and listens to M. Ward albums, after all. Still, Belle Attente is jangle folk rock/pop, pure and simple. The songs are easy and care-free, and pass by with a wisp. It's a very pleasing album, and, of course, easy on the ears. And when Winchester Warm does this brand of music, they do it fairly well, with a couple of caveats, though.
There are pain points with Belle Attente and they are thus: the record sounds very thinly produced, as though the outfit is playing in a large, empty room with sounds reverberating off the walls. It's hard to be critical of this aspect; after all, Ottawa is hardly a recording Mecca and good studio space can be hard to come by. Still, it's a distraction. The other thing is that vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Pearce's singing is sometimes strained, though he has trouble reaching for the emotiveness of the lyrics. I would very kindly suggest hiring a voice coach to improve this aspect. Still, despite these shortcomings, Belle Attente is a good time, though, because of its problems, is an average one critically. Musically, the group has a grip on their sound, and it's widely appealing. Just with a few more tweaks here and there to enhance their professionalism, Winchester Warm could go a long way towards being a completely captivating group with a delightful chime.