My Old Ways by Jack Windsor has a warm and consistent sound that feels like a mix of Trudy and The Romance and The Smiths. The album mixes rock, americana, and folk into a modern yet timeless journey of nostalgia, looking back at a life that feels so familiar and alien at the same time.
The first track, 1918, does an excellent job of capturing the human, liminal moments of a time long past. The Smiths' influences are on full display in the specific vocal cadence used, as well as its interactions with the meandering guitar part. We also get a peak at some of the rock influences, which make themselves more apparent on later tracks such as Perfect Day or Oh Brother. Oh Brother has this silky smooth electric guitar that works almost as a call and response to the vocals, delivering the emotional counterpart to the heartfelt lyrics.
My Old Ways, the next track, takes the album in a more melancholic direction with this wailing distorted electric guitar, contrasting its classic country sound. Overall, this song does a great job of showing the musical expertise of Windsor. Having so many complex layers of guitars playing can often feel overwhelming, so it's a testament to the compositional skill of Windsor that they work together so smoothly in this case.
Downtown is a personal favourite of mine. It shows off a deep, soft timbre, built up with bass guitar and drumming. The lower register contrasts the vocals nicely, creating a diverse sonic tapestry. This is where the album begins to remind me more of Trudy and The Romance, through specific vocal trills and embellishments that exude emotion.
Honolulu Avenue is a subtle track with a stripped-back instrumental, focusing on the narrative. You get a sense of returning to a hometown and the uncomfortable mix of melancholic nostalgia that comes with that experience.
The album closes out with Run For Your Life. I like the quick pace changes the track employs in the chorus, moving from a languid piece to a bold and energetic one. That switch to powerful guitars, along with the lyrics “I’m running for the hills, I’m running for my life,” feels tonally contrasting while still fitting within the vibe of the track. There is a sense of escape and freedom that this song communicates. With some of the other tracks looking backward, having the final track decisively facing forward feels like it ties together the album as a whole really nicely.
Overall, this is an exciting album that feels like it comes from the heart. It’s that vulnerability of nostalgia that makes it so unique. I’m looking forward to what Jack Windsor does next.