Having seen Wintersleep play a great gig in Barfly Cardiff last year, I was pleased to see that they had released their fourth Album, New Inheritors, last week. However, with Broken Social Scene’s new offering not living up to their previous work and the first plays of Arcade Fire’s Suburbs on the radio last sounding a pale shade of their former glory, I was a little worried that Wintersleep might have fallen into the same trap.
However, if anything, New Inheritors is their best work yet and could well establish them as the new force in North American indie rock.
With one of the thickest Canadian accents in the music industry, Paul Murphy’s vocals can take some getting used to, but that shouldn’t put you off because the new record is ace overall. Starting out with violin melodies on Experience the Jewel, the song is slow, choppy and slightly random, but the lyrics make for a perfect statement to start the L.P. with a chorus of “it’s bigger than you”.
Encyclopaedia is a guitar led classic north American indie tune that mixes things up every now and again with tempo direction changes. It’s a little repetitive, and definitely not the best song on the album, but it fits well.
Echoing vocals kick off Blood Collection, which is the first stand out song on the album. While it’s dark in parts, the soaring chorus and sprawling ending makes it a contender for song of the album.
New Inheritors, the title track, has a cool fuzzy bright riff and some nice synth background sounds. However, it’s Black Camara that takes the album to new levels with a really fast verse chorus changeover. It’s also got some wild guitar sounds flying around the track.
Trace Decay has a beach boys feel to it, taking the album in a new direction before coming back to a more traditional path in Mausoleum.
Echolocation is a juxtaposition of sounds with dirty, echo drenched, heavily distorted guitar flicks standing side by side with bright clean riffs. The chorus is a complete departure from the rest of the song, while the drum beat rarely deviates from it’s simple rhythm.
The quickest track on the L.P. is Terrible Man; a fast paced song that you’d be happy to dance to; not exactly what Wintersleep are best known for. This is followed up by Preservation, which slows things back down with beautiful harmonies and strings.
One of the best things about the album is that despite the fact that there is an overarching sound, every song is completely unique. This is definitely true of Mirror Matter with its electro organ ending and military drum rolls.
The new material finishes on Baltic, the dullest track on the album for the first half of the song. However, a haunting interlude that builds throughout the rest of the track reprieves all and finishes things off in style.
On top of the 12 new tracks, Wintersleep also throw in live recordings of Black Camara and Dance Macabre, just in case you were under any delusion that the album hadn’t delivered enough.
While New Inheritors is build around traditional north American indie rock, it is also filled with a variety of different sounds that give the album the depth needed to create something new. Interesting, lyrically brilliant and slightly off kilter, Wintersleep’s 4th album sees the band shaking off the gloom of recent north American alt rock productions with a great record.
Wintersleep, New Inheritors album review: 4.1/5