Allegiance and Conviction is the twelfth album from Michigan space rock / ambient duo Windy and Carl. It is their first in 8 long years following 2012’s We Will Always Be. Despite the time lag since their last album, the pair have lost none of their ability to create beautifully layered music that carries itself with both grace and power.
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Eight years since we crowned ‘We Will Always Be’ our favourite album of 2012, Windy & Carl make a welcome return with their stargazing ambient sound. Their twelfth album ‘Allegiance and Conviction’ blends the ethereal wave qualities of ‘Drawing of Sound’ with the twinkling space rock of ‘We Will Always Be’. Furnished with glorious production which either bolsters the warmth or brings the solemn qualities to the forefront, the album shows the husband and wife duo working to their best strengths, creating evocative music which feels like you’re either amongst the cosmos or within the earth, staring up at the sky and pondering all that lies above and ahead.
The ominous moods of intro ‘The Stranger’ are quickly replaced with the twinkling guitars and lulled spoken word of Windy in the gorgeous ‘Recon’. ‘Alone’ opts for grainy and gazing guitar tones, whilst the frail as spiderweb drones of ‘Moth to the Flame’ feel like they could play on infinitely. Distant hums and echoing pianos meet on the secluded ‘Will I See the Dawn’, and the obscure slowcore of ‘Crossing Over’ ends the album on an ambiguous note. No one quite makes music like Windy & Carl. Sure, at times you’ll be reminded of the minimalist beauty of The Stars of the Lid or the psychedelic qualities of Grouper, but it’s so delightful to hear music of this ilk being created with a minimal set up of guitar, purring bass and serene vocals.
‘Allegiance and Conviction’ is a tranquil record with hues of restrained gloominess. Perhaps this is a review I’ll look back upon in a few years’, to reminisce about a period where finding comforting activities was a form of escapism. A time where I got really into ambient music, soothing video games like ‘Journey’ and ‘Okami’ and had this record, Stars of the Lid and Nine Inch Nails’ latest pair of free to download ambient albums on repeat. Perhaps it’s that uncertainty which makes such activities so gratifying.
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