17 Jun 2024
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South for Winter - Album Review: Of Sea and Sky

17 Jun 2024 // Review by Hannah Jane


Recorded and produced in Nashville TN alongside two-time Grammy award-winner, Matt Leigh, Of Sea and Sky is a beautiful offering from folk-rock trio South For Winter.

New Zealander Nick Stone, Colorado native Dani Cichon (Stone), and Michigander Alex Stradal are three multi-instrumentalists and songwriters. Together they combine elements such as cello, guitar, mandolin, suitcase stomp, and three-part harmonies into a genre-bending sound.

I have been following South for Winter for a few years now, and they seem to have so much fun being a band playing the gloomiest of music!

My favourite part of South for Winter are their harmonies, which have shades of The Civil Wars throughout the album, especially in songs like Something in the Stars. I like them best when they sound like a perfect murder ballad such as in Underneath the Blood Moon, Back in Gold, and Styx and Bones.

Eerie melodies and lyrics are held in a sumptuous bed of folk-rock style instrumentation with bluesy arrangements. The music has a Mumford & Sons feel to it, and I absolutely adore their use of strings!

Dani Stone’s voice is delightful and can sound light and lilting, which adds to a winsome trad-folk sound such as in the song Souls Lost in the Dark. Voices weave together with ease, creating a layered depth which adds gravitas to the overall sound of South for Winter. At times I hear Phantom of the Opera’s darkly gothic romanticism, other times haunting tones of Evanescence such as in the powerful Underneath the Blood Moon.

Lyrics are strong and sung with clarity which gives a purity to their overall sound.

Songs like The Mountains You Move and This Man Will Be the Death of Me have an energy like gothic-Americana band The Dead South and would be just as amazing to hear live. I can’t wait for them to come play for us in New Zealand one day!

Created while living the van-life of a band on tour, Of Sea and Sky is an absolutely gorgeous result of years of inspiration, hard work, and dedication.

Over 14 songs which includes a lovely 3-part instrumental Tears of an Albatross, South for Winter tie together an ocean of a universe with themes light and darkness. They have created an album that ebbs and flows beautifully and effortlessly, and is worth listening to over and over again, just like I am doing!

 

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