After coming out big and bold with their debut album, About A Girl, in 2008, Montreal quartet Winter Gloves have taken a couple steps backwards with their sophomore effort. Clocking in at just over 25 minutes, All Red and its 10 tracks are more pulsing and subdued in comparison to the swinging, toe-tapping grooves of its predecessor. All the elements for great indie pop are still here: from the sweeping celestial sounds of We Need New Transportation to the wooden bass line that anchors Strange Love. Charles F.’s voice and falsetto is as distinct as ever on Use Your Lips. Though underwhelming, Winter Gloves can still punch above their weight with others in the genre like Metric and Stars. Still, nothing here pushes the envelope to get heads nodding and feet tapping; instead, the album gets lost as ambient background music instead of bursting through the speakers.

Published in Volume 65, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 9, 2010)

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