The Windmills' second full-length follows the same blueprint as their first: classic guitar-driven indie pop in the style of Lloyd Cole, the Weather Prophets, and the Go-Betweens. Now Is Then is just as strong in every department; the songs are rich and full of emotion, the guitars ring and strum like they should, and Roy Thirlwall's vocals are deep and poignant, falling firmly in the style of crooners like Robert Forster, Lawrence Hayward from Felt, and Nick Heyward. The feeling of the record is very autumnal, just this side of gloomy. On tracks like "Walking Around the World," the sweetly pastoral "Amelia," and the subdued (and very Felt-like) "Your Fingers and Mine," Thirlwall sounds like he is walking through rainy Essex side streets with his collar turned up against the cold, singing to himself quietly. The mood lifts briefly on the album's uptempo tracks like the bouncy "Something Spring" and the hard-charging "Now Is Then," but even those tracks have less than cheery lyrics. There is tragedy running through this album; anytime you drop lines like "Summer snow/Something cold/In my heart/Summer's slow/Suicide of my soul" (on "Summer Snow") you know you aren't dealing with happy chaps. So if you like your indie pop tear-stained and morbidly sad, Now Is Then is right up your alley, down your street, and on your front porch passing you a tissue.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra