It’s been a couple of years since Wintersleep’s Weighty Ghost crashed onto radio with a thud, sending the band on tours to far flung places and opening gigs for heavy hitters like Paul McCartney.
Weighty Ghost was pretty, um, heavy itself and frontman Paul Murphy’s new project, Postdata — recorded with his brother in 2008 — goes further down that rabbit hole, frequently tossing out references to Alzheimer’s, girls being carried away by paramedics and whispering to ghosts.
“The album was written the year our grandparents died, and we didn’t record it with the thought of releasing it,” Murphy said of the deeply personal album. “We just played it into a laptop. But after hearing it, we kind of got into the mood.”
Don’t mistake Postdata ‘s self-titled debut for a bleak set of songs, however. Rather, it’s the kind of quiet, bedroom affair that briefly flirted with becoming huge back when Red House Painters were soundtracking Gap commercials. Far from having to rely on the sometimes harrowing topics at hand, Postdata’s bare bones subtlety leaves enough space for its sound to create an impact all its own. In another life, album highlight Paranoid Clusters could have the heart and tempo of a Celtic stomper that betrays Murphy’s Nova Scotia roots. It may also offer hints to future collaborations between the brothers.
“That was one of the first songs that was written for this album, it’s one of my favourites,” Murphy says.
“But it’s hard to say what would happen if we made another record together. You don’t want to box yourself into anything.”
Having just road tested the material to rave reviews on a European tour, Postdata have a handful of Canadian dates slotted for the spring before Murphy returns to his day job with Wintersleep, which is currently working on a new album set for a May release.
“The crowds were great, but it was a little different. It definitely wasn’t a Wintersleep crowd.”
And this definitely isn’t a Wintersleep album. But for fans of Murphy’s better-known work, Postdata is a chance to catch him in a moment of intimacy that might never be repeated.