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Be Honest & Fear Not
[Out On A Limb]
A title apropos for the work it represents, Be Honest & Fear Not is a deeply personal, yet keenly outwardly-looking piece of art for Limerick quintet Windings. Recorded live across three days, produced and mixed over the course of two years rather than one smooth, straight-ahead process, the album bears the benefits of consideration and attention to detail.
Creatively, it finds the band, headed by Limrock institution and ex-GAMAK man Steve Ryan, at a crossroads, and thoughts of that duo’s recent comeback may have been swirling around as more immediate numbers like ‘Boring’ – a rail at frustration with the old Irish music industry – and riff-driven synth/twin-guitar-led instrumental ‘On the Passing of Sega’, make their mark.
Where Be Honest & Fear Not really reels you in and takes you on a journey is in its tense, aggrieved moments of quiet. Leadoff single ‘Stray Dogs’ is a cold eye on lived experience cast harshly, and album standout ‘You’re Dead’, a shivering, snaking number on the demarcation lines presented in a post-truth media environment, leave dents in the most bruising of ways. ‘Late Praise’, meanwhile, is as harrowing as it comes, a paean to the redeeming power of relationships in the face of a life spent taking chances.
Of course, a simple study of dynamic would be an injustice to the overall work, at once polished and a testament to how tight the band are live to be putting this whole record down in a few takes. “Raw” would a lazy term for it, and “urgent” would be for records more feral and wired, but rather an immediacy exists that strikes the balance between the noids and a good, solid alt-rock outing.
It all makes for a career record for Windings – one vested in immediacy and relatability, without shirking the weight of the existence and experiences of the trials that brought it about. Superb.
NINE / TEN
The NO ENCORE boys reviewed Be Honest & Fear Not in-depth on the podcast. Check out that episode here