Review : Wintersleep - New Inheritors
PopmattersDelicate but firm chamber strings commence “Experience the Jewel”, the opening cut of New Inheritors, the fourth album from Nova Scotia’s Wintersleep. The strings peter off and cede the stage to a stark finger riff and vocalist Paul Murphy’s usual foreboding musings (“a big black cloud of smoke / you can’t grip it by the charcoal throat”). Rhythmic spikes shake the strings back to life, and they shadow Murphy’s existential rhetorical questions. The fits-and-starts structure gives way to a climax of woozy grandeur in the song’s final minute. “Experience the Jewel” never abandons the grimy mid-tempo but seems to have travelled continents by its conclusion.
If this sounds at all appealing to you, then so will much of the rest of New Inheritors, as indeed will much of Wintersleep’s previous oeuvre. Pearl Jam comparisons have haunted the group over the years (they’ve opened for the grunge giants, not to mention the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney), but Wintersleep has shown a deeper interest in art-rock experimentalism and jam-band excess than the Seattle survivors ever have.
Critical voices have suggested that this indulgent streak has occasionally sabotaged the artistic and commercial potential of the group, particularly on their previous long-player, Welcome to the Night Sky. Kickstarted by the band’s biggest success to date, “Weighty Ghost” (a swaying campfire belt-along number about being dead), the record laid down the potent rockers thick and strong before dissolving into a dark psychedelic mist. That I happen to dig that sort of thing may or may not matter to you. Mist it was, and mist it remains. That the rock and roll masses prefer something a trifle meatier is not really up for debate....full text
BbcWhen Juno Award-winning Canadian quintet Wintersleep’s third album, 2007’s Welcome to the Night Sky, collected a considerable quota of critical plaudits – “on a par with Band of Horses,” read one review – it seemed their star was set for commercial ascendance. But it hasn’t quite happened for them in the same way as fellow countrymen Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene, two groups to have taken praise in the press and turned it into mainstream-appeal gold. When they last visited London, it wasn’t an Academy for this lot – instead, they played a whiskey bar (albeit a very popular one).
But stasis on a level of success measured by sales, records and tickets, hasn’t stalled the band’s creativity: fourth long-player New Inheritors takes the refined indie template of its predecessor and introduces additional depth and tonal detail. Strings are stirred from slumber on opener Experience the Jewel, wrapping themselves around tumbling percussion and lyrics demanding sing-along recognition – “It’s bigger than you / If you ever make it through / What would you do?” – without coming across like a tacked-on post-production extra. As they swell, so do battling guitars; complementary constituents are the pieces at play, nothing sounding out of place.
The driving dynamics of Encyclopaedia are indicative of another side to Wintersleep: here, they’re a close-enough cousin to acts like Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Mission of Burma, delivering a racket that’s taut of rhythm but raucous of execution. Black Camera is a similar number, vocalist Paul Murphy drawling his lyrics in a fashion not a thousand stylistic miles away from Thurston Moore before switching pace as if a snaking electrical cable has made contact with steel-toe-capped boots. This ability to alternate their expression(s) of energy characterises a record that moves from snappy punk-infused offerings to intricate arrangements that reward repeated listens with textural treasures....full text
SnobsmusicHalifax post-punk dreamers Wintersleep have enjoyed their fair share of critical success in Canada. They've got the Juno Award to prove it. On their forthcoming fourth album, New Inheritors, the band seems intent on becoming more than hometown favorites.
The band have approached the music on the new record (out June 1st) with a newfound energy and intensity. The songs are less wafting pop and more surgically-precise post-punk. Tracks like the dark "Black Camera" or the angular "Encyclopedia" draw easy comparisons to the best work of Interpol.
Certainly there's still a significant amount of orchestral influences. Some songs like "Trace Decay" and the title track flow so effortlessly that they resemble The Tragically Hip, not so much so in sound as in overall feel....full text
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