Kirk Windstein – Dreams in Motion
Reviewed: January 2020
Released: 2020, eOne Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
As much as I love Crowbar, it’s fair to say that you pretty much know what you’re gonna get before you press play. From OBEDIENCE through THE SERPENT, Kirk Windstein has been extolling tomes of emotional bruising and personal turmoil through a set of musical blueprints that haven’t evolved much in 30 years. So how different could Kirk’s first proper solo outing be from the legacy of recorded work he’s cemented? Very different.
DREAMS IN MOTION is an almost shoegaze exploration of how deep the bruises and emotional turmoil he continues to wrestle with can run. The opening title track and first single is about as close to a traditional Crowbar tune as you’ll get, as gems like “Hollow Dying Man” and the exceptional “Once Again” revel in clean, jangly progressions and resonant single note melodies that manage to punch you harder in the gut than any power chord could. And the man actually sings…well as close to “singing” as Windstein’s leathery pipes allow, but still, it’s a marked (and impressive) departure from the man with nothing left to give.
The album progresses in much of the same fashion, leaning heavily on open, expansive passages and vocal charisma to keep the tunes moving forward, but it never feels stale. “Toxic” revs the engines a little louder again, and “The Ugly Truth” almost lets you think the original compositions are going to end on a positive note. WRONG. Formally closing out DREAMS IN MOTION is a heavy prog cover of Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung”, which seems totally appropriate given the dude’s love of 70’s schmaltz and having previously covered the likes of Iron Butterfly and Gary Wright.
And yes, DREAMS IN MOTION is absolutely a metal album with plenty of heaviness spread across the disc. Compared to the blunt force trauma of a typical Crowbar record, some may find this a bit passive by comparison, but don’t let that fool you – it’s a fantastic listening experience. Kirk Windstein has absolutely nothing to prove to anyone at this point in his career, but releasing such a personal and emotionally bare record like this shows that there’s more to his musical personality than many give him credit for.