Campfires In Winter are now well-established faces on the Glasgow indie rock scene, so it comes as some surprise that it has taken the Croy four-piece so long to get around to releasing their debut record Ischaemia.
The record is the follow up to a multitude of singles and EPs over the past few years and it’s an interesting synthesis of the sounds they have tried on over the last half a decade.
Building a reputation for emotional live performances that blur the line between windswept folk rock and soaring shoegaze, on Ischaemia they brush up against these constraints with a record that pushes their sound in some more experimental directions with mixed results.
Opener ‘Kopfkino’ takes its name from a German term describing what happens when you involuntarily use your imagination to think of troubling or disgusting things in graphic detail, it’s a curious title and one that seems to bare relation to the track itself; ultimately it could just be a cool sounding Germanic term that suits the song’s krautrock repetitiveness and thunderous bass.
‘Janus’ –named for the two-faced roman god – mixes nursey rhyme chimes with a white noise backdrop, while the group do a good job of channelling Idlewild on ‘Eating All the Bodies’.
It’s a shame that they didn’t find room for the brilliantly mordant folk-pop of ‘We’ll Exist’ or the knockout debut single ‘White Lights’.
Like the tongue-twisting title, some of Ischaemia is a little too clever for its own good, favouring oblique imagery when something more concrete might have more emotional pull.
Similarly with a series of fairly predictable crescendos outstaying their welcome, there are times when trimming four and a half minute songs down to a more focused three minutes wouldn’t do any harm.
At the end of the day though there’s plenty to enjoy in a record that thrives on brains and a dark humoured outlook on the world.
Words: Max Sefton