Winter is a weird season, it manages to be both comforting and stifling. You bundle up, enjoy creature comforts and hang out with only the necessary people for short periods of time; daylight is precious after all. But with that lack of freedom and sunlight, people have a legitimate reason to be afraid of seasonal affective disorder.
Which is why having a security blanket can be a good thing. It’s a transitional object that gives your brain rest and ease, especially in those months when it feels like the sun has left forever. But what if your security blanket was also an electric one? Would the risk of starting a fire qualify it’s status or eliminate it?
Wintersleep – The Great Detachment
released March 4, 2016
Wintersleep are a Canadian indie rock band from Halifax, Nova Scotia. They have won one Juno for New Group of the Year, and a MMVA for their song Weighty Ghost.
Before we get started, please go watch the video I just linked to, and if you don’t know who they are from their name alone, I’m sure you’ll recognize that track, which it will help give the rest of the review context.
What a cool song, eh?
Well unfortunately, it seems like Weighty Ghost has haunted Wintersleep ever since they released it back in 2007 (pun intended). Because almost a decade later and here we are with The Great Detachment, Wintersleep’s 6th studio album, anticipating something similar to that beautiful little number.
I’d be hard pressed not to describe this as a fitting album title, given what we already know about the band and their awesome single Weighty Ghost, from my hundred or so words of exposition above. They are attempting to separate themselves from the two albums between Welcome to the Night Sky and this one, realizing that they need to be invigorated to remain relevant. But it turns out the group has also made some other decisions that factor into the title. They parted ways with their manager recently and also went on a one year hiatus, so there are literal elements at play as well as symbolic ones.
Equal parts anthem and apathetic (listen to Spirit in particular), this record has some punch to it.
The Great Detachment opens on an extreme high, reminiscent of that curse-like song, and follows just as well with Santa Fe. By all accounts these two songs are worth the price of admission alone. Paul Murphy has amazing vocals and these two songs showcase them well. Santa Fe teases us with some synthpop elements too, which is ALWAYS fun to hear, especially from indie-rockers.
This is the kind of music that both casual listeners and genuine fans of the band can enjoy and not feel guilty about singing along to on a roadtrip or while jamming out at home on a weeknight.
More Than is sweet and sentimental, Shadowless is somber and serious, and Metropolis conjures up images of The Tragically Hip and Pearl Jam simultaneously. I’m also a big fan of Freak Out, which I bet will be fun to dance to at a live show.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any music videos for this album to share with you, but you can listen to the official audio of Amerika and Santa Fe if you’re up for it. As I mentioned already, it’s a one-two punch that can’t really be beat.
So I guess we are left with a final question. Does The Great Detachment win album of the year or any other accolades? No, but it’s damn good indie-rock and nothing to be ashamed of, plus it’s a positive change of direction for Wintersleep which should be encouraged.
Like a security blanket, Wintersleep make us feel at ease and comforted. But sometimes they turn up the heat and also provide us with some heat too, but I don’t think you have to worry about them ever short-circuiting and starting on fire. They aren’t that kind of blanket, I mean band.
That’s all folks, come back tomorrow for something theatrical and also seasonal.