POSTDATA Oozes Character and Individuality on 'Twin Flames'
Published Mar 04, 2021As the vocalist of Wintersleep, Halifax's Paul Murphy has long been the centrepiece of energetic and thick rock songs. But, as the leader of the far more cerebral POSTDATA, Murphy drops the showy bombast and embraces a more organic and reserved approach to production. On Twin Flames, POSTDATA's third release, natural ambiance and demure lyricism take flight, creating an experience that is delightfully disorienting.
Despite the evident and accessible appeal of Murphy's songwriting, it's hard to pin down what exactly makes Twin Flames so special. Sure, it spans multiple genres — "My Mind Won't" features pulsating and cascading synths while the rhythm of "Nobody Knows" evokes distinct shades of George Michael's "Faith" — but there's something overarchingly purposeful about the arrangements. Almost every track is structured like a mini-journey, beginning modestly and eventually climaxing to a larger, more profound explosion of instrumentation. Deeper than that though, there is a decidedly relatable tone to most of the album's songs. Though they may be deceptively more expansive than typical pop, the arrangements are approachable enough as to not frighten unfamiliar audiences.
Even the album's title track, which begins rather dully, ascends to a generously seasoned plateau. In fact, the amount of complexity ingrained in the endings of most of the album's tracks can actually be rather stunning; when monotony is expected, the astonishing depth is made all the more poignant.
On "Haunts", Murphy dusts through clangy ambiance, a mysteriously splashy tonality that is revisited during the middle section of "Yours." Elsewhere, "Kissing" transcends typical pop structures and soars with acoustic drama, as does the lofty "Inside Out." Like Murphy's work with Wintersleep, Twin Flames reads like a pedestrian set of shallow love songs but sounds like a well-constructed, carefully layered fusion of diverse instrumentation.
Significant credit is due to the record's supporting cast, which bolsters Murphy's intimate vocal delivery and expression. Alongside him, Frightened Rabbit's Andy Monaghan and Wintersleep bandmate Tim D'Eon make appearances, contributing in a solid yet unobtrusive manner. Broadly, Twin Flames reaches for something more than the obvious, both musically and narratively. Guided by tiered mixes and honest lyricism, POSTDATA has, for all intents and purposes, succeeded in transporting any inclined ear to a place filled with imagination and whimsy. While it may occasionally wander in finicky obscurity, it nevertheless oozes character and individuality. (Paper Bag)