I first saw The Long Winters live at the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle at the end of July, 2004. Along with IQU, they stood out as the event’s best performers. The second time was in Pullman this past spring  for the university’s annual Spring Fest. And again, they left the other performers behind to become the main attraction of the day. Standing at what appears to be well over six feet tall, front-man John Roderick has a stage presence that is outstanding. I recall hearing “Pushover” and the quick, punchy chords of “Fire Island, AK”. I remember “Sky Is Open” being a favorite, and possibly even “Rich Wife” and “Ultimatum”.
At first, I saw little difference between Putting the Days to Bed and When I Pretend to Fall. Despite the similarities in the way each song is crafted, this album is much more accessible and a tad more mainstream then their sophomore album, and the gap is even wider between this album and their debut, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm. Roderick continues to have sometimes overtly humorous and overly catchy rhyme schemes. It’s a characteristic apparent in The Long Winters’ prior albums – just listen to “Cinnamon” and the repetition of “Her Lips are Cinnamon” and you’ll understand. Still, as with their previous album, these aspects do not detract from the quality of The Long Winters’ creations.
This album deserves to be big – in the sense of Transatlanticism and Chutes Too Narrow. Putting the Days to Bed is an album that should have lead The Long Winters into the transformation from independent to mainstream music. While we didn’t quite see it happen in 2006 upon the album’s release, it’s pretty clear that if The Long Winters keep this sort of progression up, they’re gonna be huge!
This review was originally published August 7, 2006 on the old version of FensePost.
Barsuk Records [CD, 2006]
2. Fire Island, AK
5. Sky Is Open
8. Rich Wife
10. (It’s A) Departure