Chris Cologne

Wintergreen

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    5
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Cologne's previous album, Horn, was a nice if slight retro acid folk-rock release. Wintergreen is a little bit of disappointment in comparison. While it moves further away from the Damien Youth in-crowd vibe that inevitably trickled into the prior recording, it's also less ingratiating melodically. And the singing sometimes affects a thin nonchalance, particularly on the sing-speak "Prism (God Is Not An -Ism)," which falls flat. But then, that's followed by something like "Fine Line Poem" that has pretty solid pop instincts, with plenty of vintage 1960s/early-'70s British influences. There's some of that elsewhere on the record too, like on "The Garden of the Sun," with its George Harrison-like slide figures, and "7 Black Veils," which recalls the Donovan-Syd Barrett influences of (again) Damien Youth. Yet the singing (which in its more deadpan moments is reminiscent of Peter Perrett) doesn't have the depth that would put the material, which at its best has a nice light, playful (and again British), retro feel, over as well as it could. The production, likewise, is hollow and the playing is not as lively as some of the songs deserve. There's some potential and variety here (including atmospheric instrumental bits like the fog-suffused "Piano"), but it's like demos with some promise, of which only selected songs should be taken further.