When Wintersleep performed on Letterman early last year, Dave made a bit of a flub. It was fairly innocuous; all he did was assume that the band had just played a song off the new album they were promoting, New Inheritors. But the track they had played was actually “Weighty Ghost”, a song that was already about four years old that had appeared on their previous album. Several questions come to mind. Why wouldn’t a band promoting a new album on television play a new song? If someone bought Inheritors after seeing that performance, could they pursue some sort of legal action against Wintersleep, Letterman or his production company for committing a bait and switch? How would the group then follow up its difficult fourth album that may not have engineered any lasting appeal?
Hello Hum starts with the swirling, multi-faceted “Hum”, builds through some jovial guitar riffs on “In Came The Flood” before crashing and exploding with some drumming madness from Loel Campbell, and then, the Wintersleep you weren’t sure still existed shows up. On “Nothing is Anything (Without You)”, vocalist Paul Murphy is back at his mellow storytelling best, emoting sadness while still only hinting at its true extent. The song is relatable and sing-along-compatible as is the inexplicably wind chime-filled track “Resuscitate” that follows. Hello Hum does begin to feel more like a top-loaded effort as you get into Side B, with their usual cutting acoustic slow-burners and six-minute suites not hitting as hard as they have in the past, both in terms of vocal and instrumental hooks. In spite of that, the bottom line is, this time around, the group has definitely cut an album that’s late-night worthy.
Download: “Nothing Is Anything (Without You)”, “Resuscitate”
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