Despite the cold sounding name this is sundrenched
Florida has given birth to some of the most influential bands and scenes. Miami, with its Cuban population was the start point to the popular Latin Pop noises made famous by Gloria Estefan and her Sound Machine back in the eighties. Gainesville has given us a wealth of credible and vital punk rock bands such as Against Me! Hot Water Music, Evergreen Terrace and Poison the Well. But what of Orlando? What has it given us other than the consumerist nightmare of the profiteering Disney corporation? Yes, the Backstreet Boys, N-Sync and O-Town, but seemingly no one of merit or lacking the synthetic, manufactured sheen that the town seems to have in abundance.
Last Winter, who hail from the Orlando, are seemingly breaking the pop band monopoly on their town. With their influences and their sound, stuck at times two decades ago, and throwing some guitars and impassioned singing into the mix, they have created something with a little bit more substance that the usual offerings from Orlando.
Despite the name that might be better suited to perhaps a death metal band, this doesn't have the stark coldness you might expect, in fact everything seems sun drenched and infused with warmth. "The Violent Things" has an ample rock guitar line and singer Cameron Mizell's voice has that remarkably similar quality to those So-Cal bands that always seem to be in vogue, all adding to the impression that this has quite wide ranging appeal. MTV, coincidently have used a tracks from the band on My Super Sweet Sixteen and Laguna Beach (which is the real OC, just with slightly less pretty people).
There is an eighties alt quality to some of the tracks on this album. "A Pacific Romance" wouldn't sound out of place on the credits of the cinematic late 80s classic Mannequin or maybe Mermaid, but that is not a bad thing. Mannequin used Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" which is an amazing piece of power balladry still played, ironically of course, on various club nights now.
Florida has always been notorious for its repression of youth culture and more recently its inability to count votes correctly, and that is why perhaps bands that come from the area tend to have something quite profound and interesting to say (see any band for Gainesville). Although this isn't particularly thought provoking, there is something about it that is indefinable. It's inoffensive – you wouldn't change the station if you heard it on the radio –and there are some relatively good songs held within. This goes some way, although not completely, to move itself away from the manufactured Orlando sound and it is certainly a better noise than anything produced by those manufactured pop types.