The Winks/Tights Split

Cute can make you ugly quick as a pixie stick sugar crash. Cute in the case of the Winks cuts its sweet with enough salt to keep you snacking for hours. Not unlike a car trip sing-a-long with Ida and the Unicorns, the four Canadian West coast winkers put their guy/gal harmonies overtop acoustic strings (mandolin & cello) and sprinkle with kitchen sink percussion. Tyr Jami and Todd Macdonald’s songs go from mock mythic ("Cyclopse” and "Castle in the Clouds”) to stranger and creepier over the course of their seven tracks. On "Boxes,” for example, they sing extra-phonetically about "(t)rees made of aleeumineeium/The centrepiece was made of tubes.” After the middle of the album passes, two of the Winks drop out and then Todd and Tyr are joined by laptop auteur Andy Dixon (of Secret Mommy) to become Tights. This side of the album is a little harder going, eschewing the poppier side of the electro current for a more freeform approach. Burbles and sine waves collide against cello drones and occasional rhythmic outbursts, but none of it seems to coalesce beyond novice level improv. Still the disc is well worth it for the first half alone. (Drip Audio)