Paul Murphy, the singer and songwriter behind Postdata, more frequently operates with the Canadian band Wintersleep, who have received critical acclaim and even a Juno Award for their efforts. But Postdata, the band and the album, is a very different and perhaps more important project for Murphy - one that hits decidedly closer to home. With his brother Michael, Paul wrote and recorded a deeply personal collection of tunes relating to different members of their family. Over time, these recordings eventually took shape in the form of a nine-song folk album filled with intimate, gripping details and a great deal of emotion. The results are often melancholy, sometimes wistful, and always gorgeous, and the origin of these songs conveyed through the vivid songwriting make this album a striking one that really shouldn't be missed this year.
With a limited palette of acoustic guitars, keys, and vocals, the Murphy brothers make simple, yet stunning music on Postdata, but the focus is, of course, on the lyrics and melodies. And it's here that the record draws you in, with brief but captivating stories of love, contemplation, and heartbreaking loss. My personal favorites include the rolling "Tracers," which is upbeat and nostalgic, and the quietly sad "Warning," which deals with the complex emotions caused by death over lonesome guitar and the soft hiss of tape. It's only 27 minutes long, but there's enough weight to the material that Postdata certainly doesn't feel light on substance. It's also consistently interesting throughout and avoids coming across as too withdrawn or depressing, and the songs are quite tuneful and warmly presented. I've no idea if the brothers plan on continuing this project or if this will be a one-time thing, but you really should hear this regardless.