“Really Early, Really Late” by The Declining Winter

The band’s latest single perfectly evokes the mood, if not the actual chill, of mid-winter days.

Yorkshire’s own The Declining Winter — aka, the primary musical outlet of one Richard Adams (Memory Drawings, Western Edges, and of course, the mighty Hood) — have a new album coming out this March titled Really Early, Really Late. I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks now and plan to write more closer to its release, but suffice to say, it’s my favorite Declining Winter album to date.

The album’s first single — if you can call an eight-and-half-minute song a single, that is — just so happens to be the title track, and its meandering guitar and piano melodies, plaintive saxophone, and scattered rhythms feel of a piece with Hood’s The Cycle of Days and Seasons. That is to say, it possesses an elegant dreariness that perfectly evokes the mood, if not the actual chill, of mid-winter days. (The lyrics, which find Adams lamenting a “useless life” where “the classic reach around… is all we know,” certainly add to this tone.)

If you suffer from SAD during the mid-winter days, then The Declining Winter’s brand of musical doldrums might be best avoided. If you’re the kind, however, who sees beauty in endless gray skies, bare tree branches, and drifts of snow dotting the yellowed grass, then might I suggest “Really Early, Really Late” for your next meandering stroll through the countryside?

The single is currently available as a “name your price” download on Bandcamp. The single’s b-side is “The Old Me,” a non-album track finds Adam’s ghostly voice draped over propulsive rhythms and shifting layers of piano and brass.

Really Early, Really Late will be co-released by Home Assembly Music and Rusted Rail on March 24, 2023.

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