Ten years ago, the members of Wintersleep began working on songs in a small apartment in Halifax, NS. This is the second most notable thing about this particularly drab apartment complex next to the fact that, due to an oversight by the architect, if the pool on the roof was ever filled – the building would tip over. The songs they created were strange, full of rural ghosts and forgotten landscapes.
A decade later, Wintersleep – who can now be referred to as ‘Juno Award winners’ in promotional documents such as this -‐ have brought their distinctive sound to audiences across many territories and continents. The band’s latest trek was in support of 2010′s New Inheritors, an album that the Wall Street Journal claims, “broods, bellows and stalks the listener with soaring vocals, punching drums and waves of guitars.” It saw them perform across North America, the UK, Ireland, continental Europe, and ended under the receptive lights of The Late Show with David Letterman.
It was during this time that an abundance of ideas & new material began taking shape, via late night voice memo’d bedroom demos, hallucinogenic dreams of Paul Schaeffer, and sound check experiments recorded while touring with acts such as Wolf Parade, The Hold Steady, The Macabees & Editors.
Late in the summer of 2011, the group fleshed out these new ideas with Scottish producer/friend Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai) and Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, MGMT) at the legendary Tarbox Road Studios in upstate New York. Secluded in the same woods that had already seen the creation of so much amazing work, the group committed themselves to long, focused recording sessions…and the occasional badminton match. Doogan can crush a bird. Who knew?
“Hello hum. I am the dying lung of the town you left. I was beginning to fear, beginning to fear that you would never come back.”
These words open the album’s first track, “Hum.” The song sits like a layer of mist that the speeding car of “In Came the Flood” comes bursting through. It’s a two-‐part introduction to the diverse layers of Hello Hum. As the record progresses, glowing melodies are backed by rhythms that can stand as the skeletons of songs or be studied for their subtle complexities. Guitars and keyboards weave together in fits of sonic weirdness that somehow shine with pop charm.
Is it a high-‐water mark? A divergent progression? Maybe it’s just ten years worn well. Loel Campbell, Paul Murphy & Tim D’Eon have spent a decade collecting. Hello Hum starts a new chapter.
1. In Came The Flood
3. Nothing Is Anything (Without You)
5. Dead Letter
Halifax, Nova Scotia