This is one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever had to do. You see, the latest solo record by Kip Winger is absolutely, positively one of the most gorgeous, phenomenal collections of music I’ve ever heard. How do you describe perfection? Go on…you try it! OK, I’m going to try to summon up all the adjectives and metaphors I can and give it a go.
For some inexplicable reason, I never got into Winger in the ‘80s/‘90s, (my loss) and it wasn’t until 2006’s Winger IV that I got to hear the band. That record kicked me square in the face. Every single track on that disc would be another band’s best song and the highlights were a plenty! It remains among my all-time favorite records.
Following up on the success of that CD, From the Moon to the Sun continues forging a path of artistic excellence. In short, it is utter nirvana. I was anxious to hear this because the trailer which previewed the records had a few totally compelling snippets. The teasers did not disappoint.
First off, this is not a Winger record. There are some rockin’ moments but overall this CD travels many miles musically speaking and is not a typical rock record. Kip partnered with Turkish producer/musician Cenk Eroglu for a portion of the project but largely the credit for the record falls on the man himself. Kip produced, engineered and mixed the record as well as doing bass, guitar, synth, piano and, obviously, vocals.
You know how some songs are all predicated on that killer guitar riff or vocal effect? Well, the main building blocks to success with this record are all based around two main factors --- the superlative songwriting and the engaging vocals of Kip.
I can never do justice to the songs here but I’ll give it a try.
The opening cut “Every Story Told” confidently strides in and sets the bar high with a wonderfully crafted vocal delivery and chorus. My favorite part of the record comes next with “Nothing”. My daughter remarked that the song was really weird because it was like a bunch of songs put together that shouldn’t work in reality. However, all the parts come together like some wicked witches brew and the result is amazing. The chorus here definitely made my ears have to roll over and have a cigarette --- simply sublime!!!
Shifting gears dramatically, Kip visits Beatles territory with “Where Will You Go” and his impassioned vocals are a highlight. “Page and Pages” is utterly gorgeous…like a cascading waterfall in an exotic locale or a Christmas-y backdrop with a postcard-worthy snowfall.
The ambitious “Ghosts” is Kip’s foray into orchestral territory and although it takes the path less trodden, it begins to find favor after several listens. The dramatic flavor of “In Your Eyes Another Life” is riveting and the melding of the acoustic parts with the eerie choral moments bring about a truly harmonious relationship.
“Runaway” and “California” are cut from the same cloth and both are little bits of perfection. Kip sings the crap out of “Runaway” and the laid-back West Coast vibe of “California” is exquisite!
We return to the rawk with “What We Are” and “One Big Game” hypnotizes with its slowly undulating melody. Kip manages to come with another glorious vocal line in “Why”. Slow and deliberate, this song just slides along with a grace that is royal-like. “Reason to Believe” is almost Toto-sounding, with a subtle dynamic hook.
Closing out the record is one phenomenal track that I almost have no words for. The song “Holy Man” is something of an eulogy to Dimebag Darrell. With just piano, cello and harp, the song is purely vocal-driven. The verses are tear-inducing enough but the chorus with multi-tracked vocals is jaw-dropping. This is simply one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.
It’s staggering to think Kip has managed to arrange 13 tracks that are made of this kind of quality. You just shake your head from beginning to end as cut after amazing cut flies by. Check out his MySpace for a taste test and tell me if I’m wrong. To sum up, this record is nothing short of phenomenal and Kip Winger is f**kin brilliant!!!