Welcome to the Night Sky
Paul Murphy has always been about the big picture. There are songs of love (“Listen, Listen”), lust (“Avalanche”) and politics (“Orca”) in Wintersleep’s catalogue, but Murphy’s lyrics usually address larger life issues. A theme of the band’s 2003 debut was normalcy---“Calibre” and “Assembly Line” questioned what life was supposed to be versus what one wanted it to be and what influenced those choices. The 2005 follow-up dealt with loss (not in the death sense, though it lingered in “Danse Macabre”), as “Faithful Guide” and “Fog” reached out for people Murphy couldn’t touch. On Welcome to the Night Sky, Wintersleep eschews the road stories and sell-out defences a band of its hard-earned stature is usually writing about at this time and instead offers a collection through which the common thread is loneliness, in day-to-day life and in the world. “What will become of us?” Murphy asks (hint: The song is called “Oblivion”). In “Tamborine” he sings “I feel the teeth again/gnawing and imminent,” essentially a thesis statement for the record. Though the lyricist reveals his neuroses, the band has never sounded more confident---Welcome to the Night Sky is epic, sonically and structurally. If you’ve wondered what it’s like to witness an extraordinary scene moment, this is it. Bold and beautiful, Halifax’s best band is no longer just looking at the big picture. It’s the photographer.