Wintersun is another lovingly recorded album from Auckland quintet the Broken Heartbreakers, only this time round it's not such a lo-fi result. It's not as if they've ramped up the rock, but there's a more lush and live sound while the songs are still mournful yet sweet, and sad as well as uplifting.
Apart from darkest moment, The Hand That's Dealt ("It's not easy to love someone who doesn't love themselves."), there is noticeably less love, loss and longing than in the past, which could have something to do with the fact songwriting duo Rachel Bailey and John Guy Howell recently got hitched. And there's no better indication of a lighter, brighter Broken Heartbreakers than the title track, a rich mandolin-driven song with lovely - albeit unusual - harmonies, and a breezy beat making it their most catchy and inviting track to date.
Elsewhere, A, B, & C's distant, shattering drum beat and eerie mood is like Jesus and Mary Chain folk; while vocally Mi Corazon sounds a little soppy, as opposed to BHB's usually staunch sadness - musically, the dark tremulous guitar steals the show; and the sparse sonic wail of Intermission II is as noisy, and over the top, as the Heartbreakers get. But this is a band who are at their best when it's all about subtlety, pace, and poise, like on romantic mid-winter wander Simmering Moon. This is sad, touching, and sunny winter music all in one.