Wintersleep awaken with ambitious art-rock album
On their fourth LP—the follow-up to their Juno Award-winning 2007 effort Welcome to the Night Sky—Nova Scotians Wintersleep attempt to evoke shades of pain so acute that the word “pain” doesn’t do them justice. Life is an “encyclopedia of hurt,” Paul Murphy sings on the urgent “Encyclopedia,” one of the album’s catchiest tracks. Of course, they’re bound to come up short—the inexpressible remains inexpressible for a reason—but that mission invigorates New Inheritors, which is best when it’s melodramatically overreaching and worst when it plays it anonymously safe. The guitars churn ominously, recalling Interpol with better lyrics, and yet Wintersleep know enough to offset that grave intensity with deceptively breezy arrangements on the title track and the post-punky “Terrible Man.” “Happiness, it’s all around you,” Murphy sings on “Mirror Matter,” and he sounds like a man who desperately wants to believe it’s true.