New Music Review: Wintersleep – Hello Hum
Gazing out the library window of my university, the green leaves on the trees are the only clue as to what season it is. The overcast, grey sky and precipitation would indicate just about any season but summer; alas, the calendar shows the end of July, and I’m listening to Wintersleep‘s latest LP, Hello Hum wishing it were a little less… wintery?
But this post isn’t about the dismal weather, it’s about the aforementioned album by the veteran east-coast indie rockers, Paul Murphy, Loel Campbell, Tim D’eon, Jon Samuel and Mike Bigelow, better known as Wintersleep.
And, in typical Wintersleep fashion, their latest effort—Hello Hum—is so different, yet still the same. With every musical offering [read: album], this talented quintet bleeds creativity and unchartered territorty (Resuscitate; Hum; Someone, Somewhere) but still continues to polish melodies and distortions first unearthed several albums prior (Nothing Is Anything (Without You); Rapture); a sound that has yet to stale.
If you’ve heard their lead-off single In Came the Flood, you get the best of both worlds; the best of old and new. Paul Murphy has really honed his vocal melodies, this single being proof as only a few listens will have you humming along. The experimental noises, distortions and tones found in this track are an added texture, something I haven’t heard the band do prior. That’s not to say there aren’t experimental sounds impregnated in their past efforts. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s just that each Wintersleep album is like putting a blindfold on and running your hands over different textured surfaces. Hello Hum is a new texture, and a very satisfying one at that.
The album includes 11 tracks, and only a few brief moments of disinterest. Saving Song is found in the middle of the album and, although quite pretty in the right context, slows the album down a little too much for my liking. Album closer, Smoke, is another slower tempo, but doesn’t lose it’s listener in monotony; it builds, swells, and releases quite nicely.
Since their breakout commercial success of Welcome To the Night Sky several years back, I’ve enjoyed each and every direction Wintersleep has branched, and Hello Hum is a pleasant, fresh offering.