Postdata: S/T

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Brad Kelly

04th February 2010
At 11:17 GMT

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For those not in the know, Postdata is Wintersleep front-man Paul Murphy's new solo output.

Born from the desire to create something more personal and understated than Wintersleep's fantastically moody experimental-rock, Postdata is a mostly acoustic affair that taps into the more poignant and introspective personality of which Murphy often hints at but never fully displays with his day job.

What we will say before we fully get under-way is that not only does this solo self-titled d├ębut create an entirely new persona for Murphy but it also stands as one of the strongest and most touching records we've come across in a good few years.

It's a vastly affecting thirty minutes, not only in lyrical terms but also in the instrumentation. Sorrow and melancholy tug at the heartstrings from the very opening moments and it doesn't let go until the last dying seconds. Needless to say you should all be warned, this is not a happy record but instead a passionate and grieving compendium of honest sincerity.

We begin with "Lazarus", a whispering, sparse introduction that instantly digs up comparisons to Nick Drake, Bon Iver and other male musicians that aren't afraid at bringing their more fervent nature to the forefront of their musicianship. Loose strums float in the background as Murphy softly starts: "Are you talking in tongues no-one, no-one can understand. Whispering to the ghosts, you've always been just one of them". It's the longest of the nine songs and flawlessly sets up the remaining eight in both sound and content.

There's hardly a single misplaced step across the entire album, falling short only in duration instead of material. He could have added another thirty minutes on top and we'd still be pleading for more in-between our sobs. He possesses something wholly inexpressible in his voice that overwhelms, forcing tears, sentiment and solicitude with every croon. "Eclipse" drips with remorse from every corner and highlights the man at his best. "Are you in outer space" he repeats simply again and again before adding "that's what the doctor said". It's cryptic but glaringly personal as his powerfully wounded vocals openly exhibit. 

Then comes "Tobias Grey" another absolute pinnacle in the man's career and one of the darkest efforts this CD holds. His pitching adds a softer edge but it still twitches with gloom throughout. "A weathered milk carton, list of groceries erased. Scrubbed his house spotlessly thorough on the very same day. Last seen with lipstick on, smeared it all over his face. Remember the smell of her when she held him in place." Haunting doesn't even begin to accurately describe the feeling as hairs prickle on the back of your neck.

We haven't even begun to describe the lonesome tone of "Drift" - "See your face in the hallway, your skinny skin in my bed" -, the stirring beauty of "In Chemicals", nor the touching wonder of album closer "The Coroner" but honestly, we doubt we could accurately portray the real feeling of hearing them all for yourself so please, if you do one thing today, go and grab this CD. It probably won't change your life but it will sure as hell take you into the mind of a genius song-writer that has fully opened his heart and soul to anyone who so chooses to give it a chance.

Breathtaking in every sense of the word.

Rating:  8 / 10

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