nominee number twelve.

the windmills "now is then" (matinee recordings)

"while the 'feel' of "now is then" remains inspired by the great, mellifluous guitar bands of the ages - like brisbane's go-betweens or glasgow's the orchids - many of the songs also remind us of the morrissey band around the times of "sunny" or "boxers" - unassuming but carefully tempered reminders of a great english tradition, atop which roy thirlwall's deep voice drips semicircles of detached irony. we thrill to the wondrous breakwaters of "beach girls 1918" ("the smell of white musk on her skin"), which syphons pale saints' "colours and shapes" into a kaleidoscope chorus, "ever to exist" which spins out adjectives of praise, presumably to a baby, across the softest backdrop of pastels guitars, and "something spring" that delightfully allows the lush tones of labelmates slipslide to commingle with prime orchids for a heartstoppingly sweet popsong. on the other hand, there are a couple of indications of new progression that might even perplex the more conservative of the fanbase. one of these is "summer snow", a guest star on matinée's "autumn assortment" sampler, which finds thirlwall's writing visiting a darker place as he struggles to find expression and wrestles with "feelings filled with hatred" - musically, we are reminded of those vastly underrated mid-80s new order songs like "sunrise" and "broken promise", especially by the time the fantastic swirling guitar instrumentals arrive to offset the despairing sentiment. the other obvious departure is the peerless title track, a three minute guitar frisson that somehow combines the wedding present (the wedding present at their very best, mind) covering "soul inside" with brisk, shuffled drums and an enigmatic, impenetrable lyric that is determined to give nothing away... "