As we are continually bombarded with the latest Canadian band, Wintersleep is proof that the waters are deep. Well into the second year of the Northern North American Sonic Swell, the rest of the world (thankfully) is still not being asked to swallow second-rate bands because they happen to hail from British Columbia or Quebec.
Wintersleep has a dynamic sound often structured like My Morning Jacket with a little more bite (less jam). "Migration" is the perfect example, beginning much like an outtake from Z, before hammering into its harmonious (melodious) conclusion. Through the music, Paul Murphy weaves tails of self-doubting heroines who often question the constructs of worth in society, much like indie chic art celebrants, Okkervil River and Bright Eyes. Even the videos featured with the disc mimic the latest from Okkervil River. "Lipstick", which opens the album (unless you find the secret track), exemplifies the lyrical trend when Murphy bellows, "Am I beautiful or worthless?/Like there ever was a difference."
The one thing which could become an issue of great debate for those listening to Wintersleep, is the vocal delivery. For those who listen to 3 Doors Down, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, and all the other semi-tough, semi-tender, always grungeful crap bands that flood the new music segments of Classic Rock stations, Paul Murphy will sound like the Indie Rock singer who finally gets what it takes to rock. To others (like my wife) who believe Grunge died with a shotgun in '94, Murphy will sound like "cheap Alice in Chains" through some of Wintersleep's better songs. Still others, like me, will agree with the latter, but appreciate the music and lyrics enough to partially excuse the flannel delivery.
Enjoy the videos, the children's book, and the music, which in unquestionably well-crafted, that is Wintersleep, and if you have a hard time singing along, shove some tissue paper up your nose.
Tracks added to iPod: lipstick, jaws of life, fog, danse macabre, migration