Review – “It Was Winter and I Wrote Some Songs…” – SunnSetter

a3074957244_10reviewed by Laura Stanley

At the end of the summer last year, Andrew McLeod (SunnSetter) had a mental breakdown and went to live with his Mom for fourth month. During this time, he turned to music as a way to process and heal. It Was Winter and I Wrote Some Songs… is the result of these months.

It Was Winter and I Wrote Some Songs… is an expansive 2+ hour anthology of fears and doubts, creaky piano keys, the fuzz of an amp, the buzzing of strings, a sense of wonder (only slightly used) – to quote John K. Samson. It’s a lo-fi blend of ambient and experimental folk that’s designed for reflection and creates a space for you to collect your scattered thoughts and make some sense of them.

And that’s just it, It Was Winter and I Wrote Some Songs… isn’t really an album that you can put on when your mind is occupied –  say when you’re reading or working. It’s a record to put on at the end of the day or during a break from whatever chaos surrounds you. It helps to slow-down a swirling mind, encourages you to listen to your heartbeat or to watch the rise and fall of your chest. While “með vatni, með vindi (with the water, with the wind)” plays, sit and look at the growing shadows. Listen to “Untitled 1.” as you stare at the dust swirling in the sunlight that floods your room. Breathe, no matter how ragged or hard it is, to “The Way I’ve Always Known to Breathe.” Breathe some more.

McLeod calls his record “a collection of unfinished music” and he’s right in a sense; “One Day in January” feels like it stretches beyond the single day of its title while “Conversation” is a long and sometimes overwhelming one, and yet, it works. It Was Winter and I Wrote Some Songs…is an unedited outpouring of fear, sadness, and confusion that if it were “finished” would be unfaithful to the feelings that drove McLeod to make it. We are all in flux and never truly “finished” so why must this?

Top Tracks: “með vatni, með vindi(with the water, with the wind)”; “The Way I’ve Always Known To Breathe.”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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