ARIA double-platinum six-piece act, Winston Surfshirt, today release their delectable third full-length album, Panna Cotta out worldwide via Sweat It Out and BMG.
A recipe of collaborative dreams, Panna Cotta sees Winston Surfshirt work with a wishlist of his favourite artists. The series of career-defining partnerships have produced 15 tracks of accomplished and star-studded material, and ultimately the record that Winston has always wanted to make. From Brooklyn royalty in Talib Kweli, to New Zealand pop icon Kimbra, Houston’s Devin the Dude, Los Angeles’ SWSH, San Francisco’s Ramirez and a wide roster of Australian-based talent in Genesis Owusu, Dope Lemon, Young Franco, Milan Ring, PRICIE and more, Panna Cotta is Winston’s pièce de résistance.
Recorded via Winston’s UK hometown of West Sussex, known for its postcard-ready countryside of winding roads and green pastures, Panna Cotta expands the signature Surfshirt sound with a lineup of acclaimed musicians the world over. A collection of influences spanning 90s basement hip-hop to bootleg beat tapes, dusty jazz recordings and 60s psych-pop is anchored by the band’s trademark brass section, Winston’s love-song dedications and warm R&B melodies.
Opening the album, “Panna” is a sampled beat loop, setting a cool and steady prelude to the warm 90s backbeat of “All Of The Little Things” featuring Ramirez. A slow-jam grounded by Winston’s inimitable vocals, proclaims invincibility in the throes of love before a verse from Ramirez adds extra steez. Next, a buttery smooth slab of hybrid rap and disco glistens, as beloved single “There’s Only One” featuring the deep sung-spoken verses of Genesis Owusu enters the fold. “Maybe I’m In Love With You” follows, as a calming hook of brass sets Winston up to huskily sing along before Talib Kweli transforms the song with a dash of East-Coast hip-hop energy. Having previously worked with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Just Blaze, J Dilla and Madlib, Talib here showcases his breadth as an icon of his craft, seamlessly rhyming over the signature Winston sound. The funky chill of “Tape 25” heralds the mid-way point, a momentary palate cleanser of saxophone solos, before “All I’m Saying” featuring Kimbra arrives. A mellow neo-soul mood reveals a smokier soul-derived side to the Kiwi artist, while Winston echoes along on a team-up that makes perfect sense.
Next, “0421” introduces a bold brass hook and Auckland MC, MELODOWNZ, to the fold. An accentuated beat sees the rapper swing his verses with effortless cool. Before, the ever-influential taste of early 90s Houston rap arrives on “Love You To Bits” featuring Devin the Dude. Winston’s seamless hooks weave together verses on both tracks, marrying together sharp lyricism and pop-ready lines to become unforgettable collaborations. Following track, “I Want You (To Be My Woman)” features the side project of Angus Stone, DOPE LEMON. Psychedelic influences sift into the mix as Stone’s effected vocals float atop sunny and love-filled rhymes from Winston. Next, the staggered bass line of “Complicated” marks the opening to an instantly catchy hookup with Young Franco. Winston’s signature falsettos speak to not letting the small things get in the way, as Franco lends his dexterous synth prowess.
Los Angeles’ SWSH adds a jazzy feel to next song, “Photos Of You” with a divine run of vocal flourishes. A rap-sing combo from both SWSH and Winston add an edge to the track’s mellow and gooey mood. Previous single, “Of Another Kind” follows with neo-90s Sydney-based artist Milan Ring and local rapper Jerome Farah. Both add their unique abilities to the hypnotic and organic textures of the song, itself an easy and inviting listen. “Tape 45’” is a slow and sample-fuelled beat interlude, with a coolness to keep your ears rolling before “I Could Play the Part” featuring Nigerian-born, Melbourne-based triple-threat PRICIE arrives. An upbeat swing and licks of brass accompany the defiant raps from both MCs, as a punchy and sunshine-filled hip-hop bop that is bookended by a final beat sample and outro, “Cotta”.
All of the album’s pre-released singles across 2021 and 2022, including “Of Another Kind”, “Maybe I’m In Love With You”, “There’s Only One”, “Complicated” and “All Of The Little Things”, have already received wide acclaim from national tastemakers, playlisting and airplay from triple j and community radio alike, and live debuts across a myriad of festival slots and headline shows. Prior in 2020, frontman Winston welcomed the arrival of his first child, and a collaboration with friend Angus Stone on the Dope Lemon track “Every Day Is A Holiday”. The band’s journey in 2019 included their eagerly awaited sophomore album Apple Crumble receiving rave reviews, and performing a show-stopping headline set at Splendour In The Grass that achieved immortality via triple j’s Live At The Wireless. Winston Surfshirt initially began as the solo project of the eponymous frontman, singer, producer and rapper, before organically calling upon some of his closest friends and other local artists to become the globally cherished musical collective they are today.
Today, enjoy the long awaited sweet arrival of Winston Surfshirt’s third album, Panna Cotta before securing your spot to see the band perform in a city near you soon.