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Mat Kerekes is in the business of making music that is nothing short of delightful. So it makes sense that his brother would be too. Equally, an acoustic split delivered to us by an uncannily smooth collaborative effort between the two siblings makes ‘Winter Split’ inviting. Having already irrevocably charmed us with his previous solo material, Mat Kerekes is at his most lonesome and romantic on this record, which, at the length of an LP, will give Citizen fans and Kerekes fans alike, something to get a little cheery about.
In Winter Split, the vocals from both Chris and Mat ooze warmth. ‘About- Face’ features, much like the rest of the split, a fairly run of the mill acoustic riff that doesn’t change much in the course of the track. However, it’s not the logistics that make this record special, it’s the simplicity of it. In the folky ‘The Sound Of Mislay’ Mat croons ‘there you go…I loved you so,’ to light background rain pattering on concrete. Everything from the vocals to the stand-alone guitar track is minimal, and it’s this relatively blank canvas that allows the vocals to sway and shake. In ‘Clegg Road’ Mat’s vocals are soft spoken and soulful, and at optimum moments on the record they are the reason you will want to stay.
In ‘Every Inch, In Every Mile’ the instruments feel like they are swimming underwater, and the minor keys knit into Mat’s vocals to give off the somewhat nostalgic feeling that the song is really a sad lullaby. While Kerekes’ vocals are so excruciatingly subdued that it sounds like it takes him effort to get each word out, in tracks like ‘Aloe’ he manages to simultaneously demonstrate excellent control over his vocals. Having said this, you can’t help feeling that at any moment, his composure may slip, simply because his feeling is so raw.
Transitioning with a sound bite from the Disney Movie Treasure Planet ‘On Your Way’ is Chris’ first go at matching his brother’s enchanting musicianship. His vocals are slightly deeper than Mat’s, but even so the change in musician is barely noticeable, as on ‘Winter Split’ the brothers have channeled very similar styles into their performances. ‘To The Sky’ and ‘Clover’ offer immaculate vocals that are soulful and raw and lyrics that are achingly lovesick, and lastly ‘The Sidewalk’ sees Chris bitterly cry ‘I’m always in the corner of your heart,’ and if you wait around for a while, a hidden track at the end.
‘Winter Split’ is fulfilling in a way that is comforting for the lovesick and nostalgic for everyone else. Perfect for a rainy night, or pretty much any other occasion, the boys haven’t tried to embellish anything here, so the overall result is a record that is intimate and quietly powerful.
2. Clegg Road
3. In Every Inch, In Every Mile
5. The Sound of Mislay
6. Treasure Planet – Silver’s Speech
7. Chris Kerekes – On Your Way (August Orders)
8. Chris Kerekes – Hannah Rose
9. Chris Kerekes – To the Sky
10. Chris Kerekes – Clover
11. Chris Kerekes – The Sidewalk