single review ~ a plastic rose ~ 'this side of winter'

Bursting back onto the scene this week with their first release since last years impeccable 'Camera.Shutter.Life' comes 'This Side Of Winter', the newest single from Belfast's favorite adopted sons A Plastic Rose. Armed with a sleek new logo, more hard hitting riffs and soulful melodies, and a new album in production, the conditions look perfect for a nation wide recruitment drive for the dedicated and ever growing APRmy. I couldn't wait to have a listen...

'This Side Of Winter' is the affirmation that the A Plastic Rose fan base have been hoping for. For weeks the Belfast lads had hinted that change was on the horizon once more and despite the excitement this held it also will have no doubt worried their remarkably loyal APRmy, but thankfully as the bands latest single kicks off with drummer Dave Reid's trademark enthusiasm and vigor, any worries that may have surfaced were soon cast aside for pure joy and formidable optimism. Although it has to be said 'This Side Of Winter' does mark a slight shift in the bands creative overlays. Driven by the sort of beautifully melodic guitar riff that helped to define the 90's as a period of carefree abandon, it seems that A Plastic Rose's unique brand of alternative, indie has adapted, without ever loosing the raw edge that captured their home city of Belfast's hearts. Uplifting and bright, the track also marks a significant shift in the bands constantly unwinding journey. While 'Camera.Shutter.Life' bore the pain and turmoil of attempting to crack the music industry, 'This Side...' is almost that records epilogue, showing how they have managed to evolve and adapt without ever compromising their indie roots.

The interchanging vocals that run through the high tempo verse is beautifully executed, front man Gerry Norman and lead guitarist Ian McHugh's distinctly different styles complementing each-other excellently. It leads seamlessly to the sort of chorus already destined for the festival circuit, as Norman's emotive delivery both enthralls and inspires. Throughout the tidal wave of melody McHugh's vivacious  guitar overlays add a Pixies-esque charm to a track oozing confidence.

For all of 'This Side Of Winter's vibrant melody and optimistic overtones, the lyrics can at times drift back into 'Camera.Shutter.Life's melancholic elements. 'This side of winter is long and it's hard...and I felt these horrors before...' sings Norman, again reinforcing A Plastic Rose's hardhitting commitment to retaining their raw passion and lyrical muse.

A slight breakdown makes way for a stunning guitar solo, that drifts back into the final massive chorus, that see's Norman hitting one particularly powerful high note that first made the Belfast music scene take notice of a young band with incredible potential. (See 'Superspeed', 'Colour Blue' & 'My Avalanche')

The release of 'This Side Of Winter' marks the next chapter in the A Plastic Rose story. It shows a band at the top of their game, producing a song that will no doubt delight their current fan base while making the kind of explosive impression on new fans that once came from the bars and pubs of Belfast City.

They're a band in transition, but if the release of this new single is anything to go by, they will always be ours.

Taylor Johnson

                       Watch the new music video here ~

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