2007’s Welcome to the Night Sky was a breakthrough for Wintersleep, a band near and dear to my heart. I never would have imagined that ‘Weighty Ghost’ would be the song to bring them widespread recognition, but it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group. Members of the band have taken part in numerous side projects, including Holy Fuck and Contrived, but lead singer Paul Murphy has largely remained quiet. With its roots in a gift for his mother and helped along with a bottle of scotch, Postdata is performed and written by Paul, while mixed and recorded by his brother Michael.
While Contrived is an extension of the louder aspects of Wintersleep, Postdata is a sombre collection of sparse home recordings, echoing the simple production of Wintersleep’s self-titled album, particularly songs like ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Ambulance’. The focus here is almost entirely on Murphy’s voice and an acoustic guitar. Familiar themes of mental illness and death surface throughout the album. Highlights include the haunting character study of ‘Tobias Grey’ and opening track ‘Lazarus’. Murphy’s lyrics are as strong as ever, shifting from conversational to stream of consciousness, remaining cryptic but with a passion that is all too clear.
Much like Julian Plenti did last year for Interpol, Postdata provides us with some much needed new material as we await the new Wintersleep album, set for release in May. The better side projects produce music that would not be possible in the main band. Wintersleep’s harder edge precludes the possibility of many quiet acoustic songs, but Postdata provides a loving sanctuary for songs that might have otherwise gone unheard.