The Winter of Our Discontent is The Echoing Green’s sixth studio album, and it was released in 2003. In my opinion, this is one of the group’s strongest efforts, and it combines a lot of different sounds and moods: straight-up synthpop, intense uptempo numbers, and downtempo mood pieces. However, even with this wide range of sounds on the album, the songs sound like they naturally segue seamlessly into each other.
“The Story of Our Lives” is definitely the strongest song on the album. As the song progresses, so does its intensity. At its climax, a soaring soprano vocal provided by Jenna London takes the song to “the next level.” The listener literally gets a chill down their spine when Jenna’s voice enters the mix.
“Heidi’s Song” is synthpop at its finest. Lead singer Joey Belville demonstrates that he can truly hit some high notes on this one. And in “Blind,” Joey shows that he can also hit some impressive low notes.
Another song I really enjoy on the album is “Fall Awake.” I like how the song builds up in intensity, both with the music and with Joey Belville’s vocals, as well as the “darker” sound that this song explores. “Apology” has a very catchy chorus that gets stuck in your head. The melancholic ballad “Starling” features leads vocals by Chrissy Franklin.
For me, the one real weak spot on the album is “Bittersweet,” which is a cover of a song originally done by Velour 100. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the original song, so I can’t compare how the two different recordings sound. In my opinion, the song gets stuck in a rut musically; also, the music is ultimately what gets stuck in your head rather than the words. It seems that the music draws a little too much attention to itself. It’s not that “Bittersweet” is a bad song, it’s just not as strong as the rest of the material on the album.
There’s also a cover of Simple Minds’ “New Gold Dream” included on the album as well. Overall, The Echoing Green performed a rather faithful cover of the song; the main differences are the fact that the tempo is a little faster and that this recording has a more “modern” sound in comparison to the Simple Minds’ original recording.
Overall, The Winter of Our Discontent is a very strong album, and it’s disappointing to realize that the masses will not get a chance to hear it. It’s an album I highly recommend. After one listen, you’ll wonder why The Echoing Green hasn’t broken through to the mainstream yet.
I wrote this review after listening to a copy of The Winter of Our Discontent that my husband and I purchased.