The Red Alert
The Red Alert

Winston Giles Orchestra

Soundtracks for Sunrise

(Flow Records)

Record Review by Daniel Brody


There is a girl you will come to know in the course of obsessive indie rock fandom, and her overriding characteristic is that she’s always happy.  She forces upon herself a sense of child-like joy and wonder at all times, and is charming while at the same time creepy in her smiley fascism.  Inevitably, she likes bands like The Flaming Lips and The Polyphonic Spree, bands that seem to truly believe they can chase the clouds away with some exuberantly off-key vocals and dainty arrangements.  Winston Giles Orchestra, and Aussie electronic duo, provide the instrumental techno variation on this theme, with gentle guitar pickings, twee beats, and triumphant trumpet sounds aimed straight at your cynical, self-loathing self-image.


Depending on your disposition, this music is can-do music for go-getters, or hopelessly vanilla Hallmark happiness.  The starchy, unfunky beats are wholly without pretension, danger, or innovation, and give the whole project an air of one-hit wonders from the late nineties: “Steal My Sunshine,” by Len (from the movie Go), “You Get What You Give” by the New Radicals (from, eventually, Scooby-Doo, Vol. 2), as well as that Primitive Radio Gods song with the really long title about a phone booth (from The Cable Guy).  If you can’t remember, these were rock songs with beats too slow to dance to; mostly they sounded good out of car speakers on the way to the beach, or maybe as a hand-holding song on the roller rink.


Add all the above up and Soundtracks for Sunrise is an underwhelming wallflower of an album.  Be prepared to bring all of your own happiness, and Winston Giles Orchestra will rest on your laurels.  Otherwise, you’ll be bored.


More by this writer:

Tunng - Mother's Daughter and Other Songs

Field Music - Field Music

Caroline - Murmurs

The Idaho Falls - Concrete Prairie