Hello Hum

Written by: TL on 06/01/2013 22:08:45

Although nobody, not even dedicated music reviewers, will ever be aware of every good band around, I always feel a little stupid when I only discover a good band on their third album or later. Canadian quintet Wintersleep are on their fifth album with 2012's "Hello Hum", and while I recognised vaguely some of their earlier singles as I was checking them out the other day, I can't say that I've been very aware 'til now. And for this I feel stupid, because from the moment "Hum" opens the record with electronic bass sliding back and forth from one of my headphones to the other and singer Paul Murphy starts singing - his voice all Alec Ounsworth/Ben Bridwell-ish (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Band Of Horses respectively) - you just know that you're in for some good music moving on.

So while the equally exciting, bubbling guitars and synths of "In Came The Flood" are followed by proof that the album will also offer some more pedestrian - although still catchy - songs with the Mystery Jets-ish "Nothing Is Anything (Without You)", "Hello Hum" very quickly establishes itself as an album you're going to want to come back to for further exploration. It's small harm then, that the calm of "Saving Song" and the traditional crunchy guitars of "Rapture" come off as weaker moments, because they mostly do so as a consequence of their situation between consistently more intriguing highlights:

"Resuscitate" for instance, underscores how great "Hello Hum" sounds when effect-ladden guitars swirl around electronics giving off vibes similar to Foals or The Maccabees, and "Permanent Sigh" creates a striking contrast between its groovy, bassy verse and its lofty mewithoutYou-ish refrain. Up-beat piano-boxer "Unzipper" races off into the wind with exhilarating effect, while sleepy "Someone, Somewhere" sounds deliciously like something that could've been on Bon Iver's self-titled... And I could go on, but generally I guess I just think Wintersleep are at their best when the under-played vocals are offset by the richest instrumental servings. I'm not one to complain even when this is less the case as it could be though, because "Hello Hum" is just too diverse and vibrant an album to deserve such. I'm only sorry it has taken me so long to tell you guys about it.


Download: Hum, In Came The Flood, Resuscitate, Unzipper
For The Fans Of: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Band Of Horses, The Maccabees, Foals, Mystery Jets

Release Date 12.06.2012
Roll Call Records

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