WIN WIN – Double Vision

WIN WIN are an Electronica band featuring producers Alex Epton and Chris Devlin, who have a rather interesting goal. The duo are interested in creating music that “supplement[s] the auditory stimuli with a visual element that shifts with the mood of the music”. They aim to accomplish this with the help of video collagist Ghostdad and some inventive live performances. However, in the world of the LP release, we have to look at how the music stands up on its own.

“Stand up” might not be the best phrase though. Double Vision is a very disorienting album – so really saying it “wobbles” on its own might be more fitting. It’s also an incredibly colourful album. From the first fast-paced track, “SALT MINUS DAYS”, the album hits you with a pace and style you may not have been ready for. The songs usually stay true to the tempo and main riff they introduce, but each track toys with its own structure and mood, constantly adding or taking away layers, or doing something out of left field entirely. “SALT MINUS DAYS” is a pretty good opener as it sets this tone in a rather successful way, making for a really engaging listen. It’s an interesting track as it doesn’t really evolve or progress, but it’s so playful and energetic that it really captures you. “Playful” is a pretty apt description of the album, actually. When it works, it really does work, as with the similar-if-slightly-more-catchy “AFTER THE WAIT”, which sounds like a loving, upbeat, electronic marching band bustling down a busy street.

The album does have a more serious side, though, which it wears quite effectively at times. “MAKE A TOAST” is a son that uses it’s simple, repeating melody to great effect. The wistful, monotone singing coupled with the constant background build lends the song an air of wisdom, and a feeling of importance. It ends up becoming the most arresting track on the album, despite the fact it might be one of it’s simplest. Then there are tracks like “06X6”, which are able to maintain a dark tone despite featuring (let’s be honest) rather silly backing vocals. It’s a very foreboding song, that builds in volume and desperation, never granting the listener the relief of pay-off. Of course, the album instantly juxtaposes this song by returning to its familiar fun, playful atmosphere with “LANDLOPER”, one of Double Vision’s most goofy, enjoyable tracks.

Sadly, the album does fall into some of the familiar pitfalls of the genre. At times the tone of a track will become muddled behind the mesh of everything that’s going on. Although, at the very least, this issue keeps these tracks from becoming boring, and also boast the potential of becoming clearer with repeat listenings. There are also a few fleeting moments of extreme deja vu, as if you’ve heard this song somewhere before (of course, you haven’t but it’s in the nature of the game that sound cues are more recognisable here). For instance, for a brief time BIRDGUN even sounds like it was created on SoundShapes (it’s a music game. I’m a nerd), however it quickly shifts from simple tones into a harder rock section of the song (though it again finishes with a musical phrase I’m certain is in SoundShapes. I’m a nerd). Really though, there’s only one song that feels like a slip-up on the album; the second track “ONE AND ZEROS”, a maddening song which, while never boring, irritates a little on every listen.

The structure of the album is pretty solid though; each song feels comfortable following the one before it. The only gripe to be had is that the penultimate song, “DEADHORSE BAY”, really has all the drama and memorability of a closing song. However, WIN WIN may have decided its rather dark tone didn’t gel with what they were going for, so they ended the album with the (I mean it) more upbeat “DEAD GIRLS” (trust me).

As I said above, I feel that Double Vision is a really colourful album. However, it’s not a repetitive, dim neon sign flicking on and off like so many other contemporary Electronica artists. Rather, Double Vision is an exciting, garish calliope. If you’re not ready for it, it could make you feel a little queasy – but if you brace yourself, the album is a damn fun time.


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