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Hunker down for Winterplan's chilling synths and moody beats

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Icy. Icy. I can’t possible overstate it – this stuff is cold. I’m not sure how they did it, but Melbourne four-piece Winterplan has by some strange and potent voodoo managed to craft a series of electro-dance tunes wherein nearly all human warmth and feeling has been removed with surgical precision. But hold fast before your nose turns skyward – I mean this as a compliment.

Winterplan 3

Nope, it’s not a Game of Thrones episode;  it’s Melbourne’s Winterplan whose cold, precise synth-pop is right on the money.

From Nico to New Order, the musical landscape is littered with artists that make a virtue of deadpan vocals and chilly distance by pairing them with plaintive, helpless lyrics. With the forthcoming release of their album Fight/Flight, Winterplan looks set to confidently continue this tradition of mournful disaffection.

The chilly sound seems inevitable when you consider their history. The four members – Dave Tran, Julia Boyle, Clara Tran and Pip MacKay – came together after a period of Dave and Julia toughing out a Swedish winter. Add in the fact that since 2011 they’ve honed their sound in the suburbs of Melbourne – a town that’s known its fair share of grey skies and chill winds – it’s no surprise that over the years of refinement they’ve absorbed a healthy amount of windswept bleakness. The time spent nailing down their distinct vibe has clearly paid off – though there are scant few tunes to be found on their SoundCloud, the work that is available is fully-formed and confident, displaying a fine attention to detail in the gleaming steel surfaces of Winterplan’s moody beats.

The brittle rhythms and impeccably sculpted synths of latest single Palindroma lends the track a ghostly ambience that plays perfectly with the accompanying video. In cool blues and greys, we are led on a voyeuristic tour through the domestic rituals of a quaint, slightly unsettling suburb. Like a page torn from David Lynch’s notebook, a series of identical twins with fixed expressions and dated clothing gaze upon the viewers and each other, quickly turning the page from kitsch to creepy. The cool, nocturnal imagery is a fitting complement to the luscious reverb and probing rhythms, creating a detached, surreal haze that nevertheless gets the body moving. The song’s lyrics refer to a ‘palindromic dream’ – if you ever need an idea of what that might look like, I heartily recommend that you give the video a look-see.

Those keen for more are best advised to head on over to Winterplan’s SoundCloud. Eyes In The Dark and The Theory Of Everything are two singles released early last year, and they ably demonstrate the dancier side to the band’s songwriting with extended instrumental passages, and an added layer of sugary gloss. Other than that, there are slim pickings for those wanting more. It’s been a busy year for the band, what with the frequent gigging combined with work on the album, so it’s understandable that Winterplan decided to focus on polish rather than cranking out a new half-baked tune every week. The attention to detail shows in the tight production, and bodes well for the upcoming Fight/Flight album.

Well, we wait with bated breath then. Winterplan’s crisp tones make fine groove-fodder, so until we get our greedy mitts on the full length I guess we’ll just have to keep those fingers glued on repeat.

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February 23, 2015