Saturday, 14 September 2013

EP Review - Campfires In Winter - Picture Of Health EP

If beautifully intricate vocal harmonies complimenting remarkable musicianship sounds like something you would like, then look no further than Campfires In Winter and their latest EP Picture of Health.  Their first EP since 2010’s Cardboard Ships, it's been a long wait but it has been certainly worth it.

Picture of Health was recorded in the Scottish highlands, and it definitely mirrors the bands stunning surroundings.  Opening track With A Ragged Diamond sets high standards for the rest of the EP.  Lyrically, it is tremendous, however it is the music that has the biggest impact as you listen.  A haunting intro and outro sandwiches an epic filling that forces you tap along during the first listen.  The track conjures up memories of early Twilight Sad, and is just as good as their Scottish counterparts, even challenging them in terms of song length, clocking in at over six minutes long.

Also on the EP are tracks See Us There, Both and Stories, the former being the first real opportunity for us to hear the trademark vocal harmonies that make Campfires In Winter so instantly recognizable.  They do not disappoint as the song crescendos into another solid track for the ever-improving band.  Stories is the closest thing to a pop song you will find from these lads, with a catchy chorus providing a cheery end to the EP.

However, it is title track that is the real stand-out.  With a catchy bass hook underneath atmospheric keyboard, the song demonstrates the musical ability that is rife in this band.  A wonderful vocal performance from singer Robert Canavan could cement him one of the best front men in Scottish music, a battle where he faces some fierce competition.   The contradiction between the outstanding vocal work and unforgiving lyrics such as "I didn’t ask to be born" give the listener a lingering uneasy sensation that lasts well after the song is over.

All in all another wonderful piece of work from Campfires In Winter reminds us why they are so highly regarded in the Scottish music scene.  With harmonies that would have Fleet Foxes phoning to ask for tips and lyrics that hit you in your very core, it wont be long till we see them headlining some big stages across Scotland.  At over 22 minutes long and only four songs, you may find yourselves worrying that the band have over indulged, however after your first listen you will be thinking two things: 'Couldn’t they have made that longer’ and ‘thank god for the repeat button!’

- Stuart Thompson

 Campfires In Winter - Picture of Health EP is released via Bloc+Music on  30th September.  You can download lead track Picture of Health for free right now from this link.


  1. Great review, Interesting to know that they recorded this in the highlands-it seems to have that resonance. This band remind me of snow patrol, I'm a huge SP fan so I would intend that to be received as a compliment!

    Thanks for uncovering campfires in winter for me!

    Al Park