Written and recorded by core members Loel Campbell, Tim D’Eon, and Paul Murphy, Wintersleep’s fifth album, Hello Hum, was co-produced by Dave Fridmann, known primarily for his work with the Flaming Lips. From what I can tell, his key contribution is making the vocals sound a little spacier than usual, as this is very much a Wintersleep album. It proves to be the lightest sounding Wintersleep album to date; however, unlike the latter half of New Inheritors, this doesn’t come with sounding wildly out of character, nor does it contain a distracting string section.
I was introduced to much of the album at the band’s performance at Canadian Music Week earlier this year. Now having titles to pair with the songs, Hello Hum lives up to my expectations. Songs like ‘Resuscitate’ and first single ‘In Came the Flood’ seem sure to become live staples, while ‘Nothing Is Anything (Without You)’ seems to be chasing the radio success of ‘Weighty Ghost’.
I distinctly remember ‘Saving Song’ during the live performance. Much as it did then, the slow acoustic song serves to bring the album’s momentum to a halt. It might work as a closer, but smack dab in the middle of the album seems to be the wrong place for it. As it’s mostly Murphy solo, it would probably be more appropriate as a Postdata song. The album perks up with ‘Rapture’, one of the album’s highlights.
If there is a criticism I can lay against Hello Hum, it’s that it seems to be missing any extended jams in the vein of ‘Miasmal Smoke’ or ‘Nerves Normal’. The songs are solid, but somewhat straightforward. Despite that gripe, Hello Hum is another strong release from an excellent band.