While it would probably be best to dispense with any sort of wintery metaphors or similes in describing this EP, as they'd be both hackneyed and obvious, they'd also be incredibly apropos. Winter, the fourth and final installment of Houses' series of seasonally themed releases, is the darkest of the bunch, and it begins on a notably dreary note with "Alone, Dear," in which a mournful organ plays as Andy Hamilton wonders, "Am I all alone?" That pervasive chill permeates songs like "Mantra for the Weak/Funeral," whose distant, reverb-drenched vocals create a similar feeling of isolation and detachment. But for all their despondent characteristics, these songs come off as serene and uplifting rather than grim and dour. With fretwork that recalls David Gilmour and organ lines and grooves that would make Emerson Lake and Palmer proud, this is one of the best classic-rock records you've never heard — and one of the most satisfying local releases of the year. Grab your headphones and brace yourself for Winter.


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