By their very definition, bands must work together as a group. Without all the members in sync the music will inevitably suffer. Regardless of how mind-implodingly awesome your lead guitarist is, your music is still going to sound like aural piss if your drummer can't keep time. Sadly, this is the fate of Wintersleep. Although in their case it's not their drummer who's holding everyone back but their vocalist.
The first two songs on their sophomore album, Untitled, start things off dazzlingly. Guitars swirl around each other creating a complex dance of arpeggios, while the rhythm section keeps itself restrained, expertly accentuating the dark shoegaze sound. This magic comes crashing to a painful halt as soon as "Insomnia" begins. Here the band tries for a simple, down-tempo feel which just puts Paul Murphy's deep, dry, vocals at centre stage, a position they cannot support.
These drab vocal stylings, which would sound unremarkable alongside the dregs of Chad Kroeger and Theory of a Deadman's Tyler Connolly, create a particularly rancid taste in your mouth. Once you're aware of this taste it sticks around for the remainder of the album, refusing to go away despite the delicious heights the rest of the band routinely reach.
With a better vocalist Wintersleep could easily be a double chocolate cheesecake of the music world, instead they'll have to settle for reheated brussel sprouts.