It had been a while since I’d spent serious time with the music of Dearborn, Mich., duo Windy & Carl, but in preparation for We Will Always Be, I found myself digging deep into their past, listening again, drawing a straight line, starting with their debut album, Portal, and following it all the way to 2008’s The Dream House / Dedications Of Flea double EP. About half way through, I began to wonder whether Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren were the most patient duo in modern music, both with the music they make and with each other (they are also in a long-term relationship). For their music — loosely defined, a kind of space-rock that comes down heavier on the space, mostly via long, arcing waves of guitar texturology — is the very model of incremental development.
That’s not to imply they’re either conservative or afraid to experiment. Rather, Windy & Carl test out and redraw their parameters slowly, while tending lovingly on each record to a careful selection of songs. (In this respect, they remind me of Vini Reilly’s Durutti Column, in their early-mid ’80s heyday, though Windy & Carl have replaced the “verticality” of Reilly’s pointillistic guitar playing with a gradual, “horizontal” unfurling of notes and chords.) And if We Will Always Be was borne of slightly differing circumstances than usual — originally a solo set gifted from Carl to Windy, they re-worked the songs, with Windy overdubbing vocals and a guitar part — it loosely fits the template the duo have been using for some time now. In many ways, this is the closest we get to Carl’s vision of the duo, though they are so simpatico that there’s no major shift in focus.