Winona Forever. Usually, it’s a reference to Johnny Depp’s infamous tattoo. More recently, it’s the name of a pretty great Vancouver alternative rock band.
For a group who have christened themselves after a pop culture icon, it makes sense that the first thing we heard from Winona Forever was the track “Mikhail Baryshnikov,” released earlier this summer. For those who don’t know, Baryshnikov is a Russian dancer and actor known for his work with the American Ballet Theatre, his role as Yuri in The Turning Point, and as Aleksandr Petrovsky in Sex and the City. The song is earnest and endearing, pleasingly unpolished with sugary chords and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that stick with you long after the final warped note and serve as an apt introduction to the band, who have just dropped their debut EP.
Yacht Rock, the first album from Winona Forever, packs in even more charm in its five tracks than its inaugural single did. Sun-drenched, melodic hooks are cleaned up ever so slightly and sound somewhat nostalgic. The boogying riff on “I Don’t Go Outside, I Don’t Like Shit” is reminiscent of Motown hit “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas, while shimmery underdones and carefree vocals on “Rock & Roll Fight Club” and “I Wanna Be A Gangsta” just feel too good — like revisiting that old friend you haven’t seen in a while. Reality Bites, anyone?