Wintersleep premiere “Spirit” video on Noisey
The video for Wintersleep’s “Spirit” premiered yesterday on Noisey, the same day the band were nominated for a Juno for Best Adult Alternative Album, and for a Prism Prize for the video for their track “Amerika.” Directed by Michael Leblanc (Belle & Sebastian, Alt-J, Lucius), the “Spirit” video follows a middle-aged small town resident who finds himself eerily isolated from his community, a fitting accompaniment to what Wintersleep’s Paul Murphy describes as a song about surviving in “a world bent on its own disaster.” Watch / share the video below.
“When I write lyrics, I don’t typically have a plan in mind, but looking at it now I think the song lyrically delves into the idea of coming to terms with morality and finitude,” Murphy tells Noisey. “Trying to make it through in a world bent on its own disaster and trying to be a good person in whatever world that surrounds us. It’s a worry, the chorus ‘are you gonna be alright?’ but I’m an optimistic person so I kind of see it in a positive light.. as a challenge.”
The track appeared on The Great Detachment, Wintersleep’s 2016 LP, and currently sits in the top ten of Canada’s rock and alternative charts following the success of the album’s lead single, “Amerika” which spent 10 weeks at number one. Built around a propulsive bass line and a whirling mass of guitar textures that recall, in moments, Z and Evil Urges-era My Morning Jacket and The Violent Femmes, the song exemplifies the approach the band took to the album, taking a stripped-down approach to recording in the interest of emphasizing the band’s focus on songwriting and arrangement.
The album was recorded with producer Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai) and the majority of the album was tracked live-off-the-floor, adding an organic and transparent aural aesthetic to the collection. “It’s a very different energy,” Murphy opines, “and one that we kind of missed.” Tracks like “Amerika” and “Freak Out” are propulsive rockers, showcasing crashing guitars and clever hooks ripe with the raw emotion of earlier hits like “Oblivion” and “Black Camera.” Conversely, “Metropolis” dances into darker territory, slightly more subdued to push focus towards the beautifully layered vocals while “Shadowless” reaches the furthest end of the spectrum, wrapping the listener in a warm sonic blanket of ambience and slow-building catharsis.
The album is very much an introspective work, both conceptually and thematically. It delivers a welcome dose of the atmospheric, entrancing alt-rock for which the band has become known, with beautifully orchestrated arrangements anchored by haunting, almost hypnotic vocal melodies. The energy and urgency inherent in these songs makes them well-suited to the stage, adding more ammo to a captivating live show that’s already earned these JUNO winners tours of several continents; stages shared with Pearl Jam, Broken Social Scene, and The Hold Steady; a performance on Late Night with David Letterman, and an opening slot for Sir Paul McCartney.
The Great Detachment is out now on Dine Alone and can be purchased here.