MUSIC REVIEW: WINTERSLEEP - HELLO HUM

Really digging the new 'Sleep disc, as the Nova Scotia trio has really perfected their album approach. The flow through the whole disc keeps drawing me in, right from track one, Hum. A muddy (on purpose) vocal takes us into their familiar ghost world, straining to hear the words behind the heavy electronic line, and the intense echo on the drums and vocals. The hum is louder than anything else here, as more and more layers get dropped in, somehow maintained a bright melody inside the cacophony. That opens the door for the big, pounding In Came The Flood, still murky but now its the rock band in them that's taking over. This driving number moving ahead on bouncy synth, awesome drums and a great dance beat, really a fun track.

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After that, things clear up in the vocal department, as ghosts part a bit, and we get treated to some acoustic guitar, harmonies, and varying degrees of their Wall of Modern Sound method. The track Resuscitate is oh-my-god catchy and triumphant. Then by Permanent Sigh, the fifth number, the unaltered vocal of Paul Murphy is let loose, and we get to hear some powerful lyrics clearly. It's like driving out of the fog into brilliant sunshine. The spare Saving Song is a slow, soft and warm ballad, just acoustic, electric piano and a mournful bass drum once again allowing us to get into the words: "But wisdom tied me/and broke my body/And burned my eyes/all my disguises/my alibis/my make-believe".

So, lots to discover here, as the album reveals its layers. Wintersleep have been road warriors, exploring new worlds as their appreciation club grows from the States to Europe and of course, cross-country. Hello Hum is the group's most cohesive album, every song feeding the whole. Look for them at The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton in September.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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