REVIEW: Down With Webster – Time To Win Volume 2

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Artist: Down with Webster
Album: Time to Win Volume 2
Genre: Rap/rock
Label: Universal Music

The second full-length album from Canadian band Down With Webster is a whole world of fun. It’s a cool and exciting marriage of rap and rock, full of life and energy and guaranteed to leave you reeling in the aisles. It’s fast-paced and exhilarating throughout, but deftly mixes a diverse range of sounds, lyrical themes, and instruments so as to ensure there’s something thought-provoking for every mindless jam.

Time to Win Volume 2 opens in style with “Go Time.” The riffs are sleek and idealistic, the drums are heavy, and the vocals simmer. Oddly, when the chorus rolls around, the change of vocal style breaks the momentum and seems to briefly nuke its appeal. It’s far catchier when it melts into its own vibrant rhythm, with some sampling and a loose and darker background guitar later added to fill out the sound. “Professional” is even more fun, taking a more straightforward rock kick at first with charged and emphatic singing laid over a robust guitar. The first verse brings an easy and infectious slick to proceedings, leaving everything breezy and cool and immensely catchy.

“She’s Dope” is a bit more animated, turning a little edgier and excitable with its use of synth. It builds an intensity as it progresses before the album pitstops on “Big Wheels.” This track uses an acoustic guitar to strip things back a bit, with the sparse sound lending it an instantaneously light and irreverent, fun-loving appeal. A throbbing bass line ensures it never loses sight of its surroundings, but in lifting the seriousness slightly it adds a perky touch of devil-may-care attitude. It’s a speedy track, urging participation, and remains balanced throughout as even when the guitars pick up in the chorus the vocals tone themselves down somewhat.

“Grind” and “Staring at the Sun” explore things from a more personal perspective. “Grind” is so named as a take on routine and boredom, and despite an in-built hip swagger is very relaxed by comparison with the others. The music is mellow, though the vocals remain pressed and vivacious, and the style is a touch grating. “Staring at the Sun” has hints of a brass undertone which lends it more colour. It’s not exactly reckless in pace but it is absorbing, with various sounds, paces, and dynamics bouncing pleasingly off one another. The brief appearance of strings underscores a more heartfelt verse – it seems a bit random, but fits in surprisingly well considering the mishmash of everything throughout this album. It’s a rush of emotiveness, but still impossibly cool.

The foreboding presence of choral voices gives “I Want It All” an orchestral dimension and a kind of cinematic, epic feel at first. The synthesized refrain, a fiery underlying guitar, and steady vocals all hint at lofty aspirations. In actual fact, the chorus turns out to be a bit of a whimper – though there’s clear evidence of ambition and determination therein. The song appears to take a more gradual approach, and the brief glimpse of a piano in the latter fragments gives it a more tender and poignant air.

“So Cold” is heavy, big on bass and venomous lyrics, with a grinding dark intensity. It makes for a rousing and thoroughly satisfying song. “Work,” which features Far East Movement, has all the hallmarks of outside influence. It’s a bit more psychedelic, if you’ll pardon the word usage, and aims for more of a club sound with the artifices more pronounced and the tempo more erratic. It resets the balance slightly, affording the music more prominence and drowning out the vocals slightly. “So Positive” has a palpable joie de vivre and a warm and engaging feel to it. The sound is sweeping, as though envisaged as a live track to get everyone moving. The drums are climactic, as befits the final track on the album, and it ends on an upbeat and positive vibe.

Time to Win Volume 2 is, accordingly, a triumph. It’s a mostly light-hearted and very enjoyable affair, with rambunctious pacing and a vivid sense of life. The mixing of styles is a striking enhancement of its appeal, its variety and accessibility ensuring it should reach the widest audience possible. Most worthy of your time.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by: Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • amazing album. each song is unique and equally awesome. gunna be a killer show!!! WINTOUR!!

  • Jennie Higgins

    In my mind , the album iss lliiikkeeeee , .
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