[sic] Magazine

Windsor For The Derby – How We Lost

When musical historians look back to the first decade of the 21st Century, they will hopefully recall some of the more idiosyncratic bands of the era. They might even consider Windsor For The Derby. Granted, some of their early material is too unassuming, as if this Texan outift were too shy to emerge as songwriters. Yet since 2004’s ‘We Fight Til Death’, the band have gained some aggression and hooks to accompany their experimental, post-rock inclinations.

‘How We Lost’ is very much the archetypal Windsor For The Derby record. Starting with a minute of drone and drums, some pretty organ frills cannot overshadow the familiar aura of doom. No surprises then, that ‘How We Lost’ is not geared for the popular market. ‘Maladies’ is, as the title suggests, a melancholic tune but it’s also given a sense of urgency by its “Joy Division meets My Bloody Valentine” guitar riffs. ‘Fallen Off The Earth’ crosses into shoegaze territory as does the drone-led ‘Hold On’ but the latter is as melodic and infectious as a Beach Boys single. Another fine track, ‘Spirit Fade’, provides a fitting end; the combination of Dan Matz’s blissful vocal and the angry instruments around him create a sinister and haunting climax to the album.

There are weak moments but timid ambient piece ‘Robin Robinette’ and the discordant ‘Troubles’ are little more than interludes anyway. Representing the experimental side to their talents, ‘Forgotten’ is a rare excursion into acoustic material where, for once, frontman Matz sounds vulnerable rather than his default setting of insouciant. Furthermore, ‘What We Want’ is initially confusing as its jarring percussion and guitar seem to be competing against the track’s core lullaby-like melody. Yet after a while the layers merge into another ultimately rewarding piece of music.

Although certain songs tread familiar ground already covered by Windsor For The Derby, ‘How We Lost’ is still a satisfying album. For this outfit inhabit their own peculiar world, untroubled by outside influences from the modern day and they persist with creating short but atmospheric albums that manage to find space for strong songwriting amongst the dark textures of their arrangements



For more from Jon, please read his ‘zine Leonards Lair