Songs for Days (2007)

– Joff Winks Band

Joff Winks band are the former winners of Zane Lowe’s fresh meat’ battle of the bands competition. Yet the band are certainly not at the cutting edge of guitar music like you might imagine. On the bands website Winks talks about the debut album, saying the record is about tying together the need for straight ahead songwriting with the desire never to forsake musically interesting writing. And for once this isn’t merely a public relations exercise in talking up the album. The band are prepared to experiment with a jazzy tinged sound, skewed time signatures and some sonic effects on tracks such as Before We Bow Down’ and Cast Adrift.’

There’s an epic sense of storytelling on tracks such as Ace Train’ and Juniper’ and these tracks would fit snugly into almost any scene from the Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous’. The album draws from late 60’s early 70’s, and it’s easy to spot the influence of Lynyrd Skynyrd’, although at the same time the narrative may occasionally make you draw comparisons to Marillion circa the early 80’s.

Racks are timeless, with the former single Someone Else’s Words’ an ambitious and finely crafted slice of rock, with playfully strong melodies, that twist and turn, suddenly changing direction without any warning. You feel that Joff Winks have effortlessly created a modern music masterpiece that constantly glances over its shoulder allowing the influence of timeless artists such as Neil Young to keep them in check. When you consider that this is a DIY release from the Oxford based 4 piece; it makes the listening experience all the more special and intimate.

Greg Thomas