VILLANELLE & THE NORTHERN WONDER – DECEMBER BLOOM

Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to Villanelle & The Northern Wonder’s latest single, December Bloom, released on December 9, 2022.

We all giggled at the promo from this Manchester UK band: “This hook is sure to be so deeply embedded in your mind you’ll forget your mum’s birthday.” It’s always good to find a band who are certain of what they’re trying to achieve and Villanelle & The Northern Wonder conjure up a great picture with this line, even before you’ve heard them.

December Bloom feels like it’s going to be a Slade-like song when it starts. With many nods to early 70s fuzz rock, there are some T Rex influences in this track for sure.

The heavy crunching guitars set the scene, together with some authentic organ sounds which help fill out the sound and put the song firmly in the 70s rock genre.

When the vocals come in, they are very clear in the mix and reminded us of Iggy Pop. There is perhaps a touch of Sisters of Mercy in the deep, gruff vocals as well. The layered vocals in the chorus are a nice touch, adding to the fullness of the sound. We also appreciated the use of tambourine in the choruses to distinguish each section clearly.

The different sections within the track are also well separated with the use of a repeated guitar riff which ties everything together beautifully.

There are moments here that we thought of the Doors (especially in the slightly laid-back breakdown section) and other times, the punishing rhythms and tones of the guitars reminded us of more recent bands, such as Muse.

We loved the stabbed instrumental section to show how tight the band are, and the guitar solo gives the guitarist a chance to shine. With a stinger ending, we found ourselves hitting repeat immediately.

Ideas from our ears

A boost around 50Hz would help bring the kick drum into the mix a little more. A few small cuts at around 100Hz, 300Hz and 1.3kHz would balance out some middle tones too. A high shelf boost set around 7kHz would increase the overall brightness and presence. To our ears, the backing could use some extra top end to help the vocals fit a little better. A single band compressor on the top two octaves only with some make up gain would add brightness but allow the sibilant tones in the vocal track to be attenuated. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

If you’re on the look out for an authentic 70s rock track with influences from some of the most innovative artists of that time, then look no further than Villanelle & The Northern Wonder’s latest single, December Bloom.