With a name like The Winter Olympics you cannot escape thinking they might be another tepid and pale band to place alongside the likes of Coldplay and Snow Patrol, another band with dulled embers in their belly from an extinguished fire. A big mistake as their new album Profit & Loss shows. The quintet from London is one of the most exciting bands to emerge into view, the band having earned its destined success through years of determination and hard work, and their album a stunning and thrilling maelstrom of imagination, ingenuity, and heart energising pleasure.
The Winter Olympics create a storming riot of melodic punk n roll, though that is simplifying it. With strains of electro dance, post punk, and melodic rock as virulent as the eighties breath and insatiable energy which drives the band, their sound is unpredictable and inspiring rock n roll at its very best. Consisting of Martin Bowman (guitars), Andrew Wagstaff (vocals), Simon Oldham (drums), Neil Mackay (bass), and Agatha Mlynarczyk (keys), the band have released through Freakscene Records, an album in Profit and Loss which demands and receives nothing less than enthused attention.
Within seconds opener Regional Showcase rubs the ear firmly with coarse riffs and an instantly addictive post punk groove. That Joy Division tease is irresistible as it leads one into a fist pumping chorus with the melodic disdain of Pulp and punk arrogance of Max Raptor. It is a staggering ride which you can only leap on board with, coat tails flying in the urgency. The belligerent bass of Mackay glares throughout the song whilst the guitars dip into a Sisters Of mercy like stance before exploding again into an anthemic and rampant tempest of sounds, energy, and sheer pleasure.
I Prefer The Early Stuff opens with a churning clutch of riffs which have an early Undertones gripe to their approach before again expanding into an abrasive and completely compelling assault. The song soon employs classy melodic teases for a pop punk glow alongside the still intimidating under current, the mix another impressive and delicious slice of invention. An early single from the band, the song tells you all you need to know about them, their vision and ability, with the album as a whole further showing the quality of variation within their songwriting.
Latest single Fags and Girls once more takes a different tact, its sizzling electro weave underpinning the harsher tones and excellent harmonies from Wagstaff, an impressive vocalist throughout, and Mlynarczyk. It is a song to only light the touch paper to greater ardour towards the release which successor This is The Fourth Time (I Have Been In Your House) only stokes further. With a stern probing bassline the song entangles post punk whispers with burning guitars thrusts and punk attitude, the defensive angst and lustful loss of control lyrically and musically, wringing of the same mischief pool as Innercity Pirates. As the song ends with the addition of large melodically and sonically bold keys added to the already magnificent mix there is nothing to deny it taking best of honours on the album.
The electro based stompers They Launched A Probe and Attention All Departments both leave a breathless heart in their wake, the first a gentler but feisty romp whilst the second has elements of The Thompson Twins tied to the manic energy Baddies rushing through its presence, though with all these comparisons it must be noted the spices only flavour something quite original.
Further songs such as the electro pop I Miss The Nineties and A Prize Every Day keep things on a more subdued but equally satisfying stature whilst the closing pair of Feeling European and especially the thumping last track Heavy Metal Ending, ensure the album ends on lingering brawls of invention and energy.
Profit & Loss is a sensational release and thrusts The Winter Olympics to the fore of imaginative and innovative UK indie rock. We lost Baddies this year but this band easily feels the gap and more.
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