Those who fell in love with The Deep Dark Woods' under-the-radar sophomore effort, Hang Me, Oh Hang Me, and were expecting something mind-blowing from its follow-up may initially be disappointed with Winter Hours. The Saskatoon-based four-piece had every right to make this a crashing jamboree, but they pulled back on the reins and instead focused on intricacies.
The majority of the resulting folk-pop (there's only one full-on rock song on the disc) comes off as a little dull at first listen, but successive spins reveal subdued hooks. There are times when the songs resemble Fleet Foxes or The Moondoggies, and those are among the album's best moments. This material definitely stays true to its thematic title. It's doldrums-of-winter music that could be a soundtrack to hibernation.
There's nothing here that's immediately fun or memorable; it's the complexity that'll keep you coming back for more. Winter Hours will definitely take a season to grow.