Wintersleep – [Album]

Sunday, 16 May 2010

"What would you do,” asks Wintersleep singer Paul Murphy wryly as “Experience The Jewel” peels open New Inheritors and simultaneously compels everyone within earshot to jump into the palm of his hand. “What would you do if desperation called on you?”

It's a simple but effective question and, immediately after asking, Murphy and Wintersleep launch into a snaking, doleful and beguiling mid-tempo rocker that listeners will just be able to feel in them from balls to bones. With strings added for tension and pathetic fallacy and a guitar solo that leaps out of the mix like an anguished scream, “Experience The Jewel” catches listeners in its luster and ensures that the band needn't even ask listeners to come along for the ride because they're already hastily buckling themselves in of their own volition.

After that initial spell is cast, Wintersleep guides listeners through a dark and desperate landscape where suspicion, disillusionment and base acts are just a matter of fact (“It's about probable cause, it's about ongoing tests / We have reason to believe in your disappearance” mutters Murphy in “Blood Collection,” and there's not a soul in the house who doesn't believe it), and a reality so immediate that looking for any light at the end of the tunnel takes a back seat to dealing with the mentally taxing and morally cumbersome scenes placed right in front of listeners' collective face. It's a worrisome predicament to be in and those listeners disquieted by what they're hearing will likely run for the hills early (at roughly the same moment the singer informs them that there's “no vaccination for your curse” in the title track, maybe) but those with the mettle to hang around will discover that, not only are they under the band's protection in this narrative landscape and they have complete control, there are diamonds in the rough and dark strains that Wintersleep uncoils. For example, while it's mostly obscured by the song's minor key chord progression through the verses and moments of out-and-out dissonance, the chorus of “Black Camera” twinkles with possibility as the clouds part to reveal some statuesque major chords, and the combination of sighing backup vocals and Rolling Stones guitar licks that dot “Trace Decay” suddenly feel like all hope is not lost. More of such moments manifest almost without warning in songs like “Echolocation” and “Preservation” and the skies even begin to lighten to a very deep navy blue by the time “Mirror Matter” rolls around (choice sentiment: “I'll be anything you wish I was”) which will give listeners the hope that death is not the only escape here, and not everything about the narrative world in New Inheritors is so desperate as the early playing of the record contended. It's not much consolation, but it's a chance and listeners will find themselves elated to find it.

As “Baltic” brings New Inheritors to a close while simultaneously seeing the clouds start to gather again, listeners are given the impression that “Mirror Matter” was only the eye of the storm; more torrential weather may be ahead on future releases. Even is there is though, listeners will find themselves hoping for something comparable to what they found on New Inheritors; it is dark but beautiful, difficult and worrisome but comforting like the smell of ozone after lightning strikes – it's a perfect storm.



Wintersleep – “Black Camera” – New Inheritors


New Inheritors
comes out on June 1, 2010 through Labwork/EMI in Canada and through +1 Records in the US. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.