On their debut recording for Young God, and third album overall, Windsor for the Derby refine their delicate, intricate guitar landscape even further. Based in Austin, Texas, the group is comprised of Daniel Matz and Jason McNeeley with guests that include Adam Wiltzie from Stars of the Lid, Christian Goyer, and Erik O'Brien. Keyboards, from floating electric pianos and tightly woven yet spaciously measured guitar patterns, dictate the flow from which Windsor for the Derby's music emanates. On the nearly 13-minute "Shoes McCoat," the band tangle two guitars in an edgeless, knotty, slowly unwinding labyrinth that grows longer in length and intricacy over the track's duration. Certain notes get stretched to resonate a tad longer before they move, or a sudden shift up the neck on one note like a slide whistle will occur, but otherwise, the patterns build and unfold, adding layer upon layer of mysterious intent that results in gorgeous music. Everything is so subtle here -- even the vocals are so slurred and unreachable as to be just another instrument in the mix. The analog keyboards in "Nico," a pipe organ (resembling a harmonium), and a piano resonate in the shadows of the bass and guitars as an off-meter rhythm accents each phrase, and another, and another, until the phrase becomes the pulse of the tune itself. But perhaps nothing here is more strikingly beautiful than "Lost in Cycles," a vocal track where the lyrics are indecipherable, whispered hoarsely into a lilting guitar line and a sustained keyboard line that gives way to feedback on both sides of the channel to create a dense yet melodic wail of harmonic distortion. Windsor for the Derby is perhaps not the best-known band making records from Austin or even on the Young God label, but no matter how hard they are to find, their records -- especially this one -- are worth seeking out (www.youngod.com).
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek