Every year in the music industry there are albums that weren't among the most anticipated for the year, either because the artist has underperformed in the past or the artist is new or unknown. The latter is the case here, and it's one of 2009's bigger surprises so far, and in more ways than one. As one of the latest artists to join the roster of Facedown Records' imprint Dreamt Music, you might think Sleep For Sleepers to be yet another metal group. However, it's actually an indie rock trio that brings forth an intriguing debut, which shows promise for a bright future ahead.
"Bravery" starts things out with a bang. With a monster guitar intro ranging almost a whole minute, it's a perfect beginning to the record. The energy doesn't subside much, either. With a blend of grinding guitars and synths, it often produces an electric and sometimes artistically frenetic result. Good examples of this style include "Thieves and Bones," "Foreign" (the album's highlight), "Keep Your Voices," and "The Fearless." Some more subdued tracks are also included to make a nice balance, with "Statelines," "The Distance," "The Sea," and "Love Is for the Foolish." As far as lyrical content goes, the vast majority of it is on the subject of love and relationships, though God is not absent from the equation. Given the indie rock sound, however, this lyrical approach works to Sleep For Sleepers' advantage.
As a whole, the entire record is great, but just not amazing. From listening, however, you know Sleep For Sleepers can mature, and hopefully they will with future releases. Besides this, there are a few more specific minor complaints. For instance, "The Harbor" is hard to classify as a track. Though it's nearly three minutes long, it tends to straddle the line between a song and an interlude because of its arrangement. It would have made more sense to have either lengthened the track to make it a full song or shorten it. The album also seems to slow down in the second half, with most of the harder and more energetic tracks being near the beginning of the record, save for the final track, "The Clearing." It could have been a better balance to mix up the slower and faster tracks instead of isolating them to one end of the album.
Overall, indie rock fans should have little problem delving into this new group. With thoughtful, relationship-based lyrics and a guitar-heavy sound to back it, there is a lot to like about The Clearing. I'll be happy to give Sleep For Sleepers another shot, and I have high hopes that they can build on an already good release and make something exciting and remarkable. Keep an eye on this one.- Review date: 5/10/09, written by Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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