Sleeping in the Aviary: Great Vacation! Review

I first heard Sleeping in the Aviary on their sophomore album, which was focused around the groups smart, Pavement leaning alt country indie rock.  When I read the press release announcing their new album, “Great Vacation!,” and mentioning a “change in sound,” I couldn’t help but feeling a tinge of apprehension.  Luckily the group has traded good for better, with the weirdo pop on Great Vacation! helping to move their sound forward and creating a highly entertaining record.

Last Kiss on a Sinking Ship from Christopher Heubach on Vimeo.

The closest band I can think to relate Great Vacation! to is the work of Nick Diamonds (Islands, Unicorns).  The song structures are pretty straightforward pop, but the lyrics and presentation are decidedly, and to great effect, weird.  The song subjects range from someone forgetting the safe word and being killed during sex (“Maria’s Ghost”) to hooking up on a sinking ship (“You Can Stay But There Won’t Be Pancakes”).  Other songs are slightly less goofy, but even some of those tracks, like the quasi ballad “Nothing” and the spooky, circus pop of “Axes Ground Looth Tooth” are case studies in abstract pop writing. When the band takes a stab at a classic folky sound on album closer “the Very Next Day I Died,” it to me came across with even less weight compared to the smart material that preceded it. While it is a little bit of a letdown to end the record, it really goes to validate how creative and entertaining as a whole the record is.

While the changing of horses midstream can result in disasters, Sleeping in the Aviary have again successfully completed the jump with their third record.  Great Vacation! is both smart and fun, a feat that isn’t easily accomplished, and results in a really solid effort from a band that has continued to push boundaries and succeed on their third record. Check out the band live Saturday night with Chelsea Boys and Buffalo Moon at the Kitty Cat Klub at the record release show.


Sleeping inthe Aviary- You Don’t Have to Drive


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3 Responses

  1. Joel says:

    Weird is a word 12 year olds use to describe something outside their comprehension. Nothing personal, but it tells me nothing about the subject at hand.

    Also, “The Very Next Day I Died” is a nihilist manifesto. It both affirms and negates the worth of the entire album, profoundly and superfluously.

    Irony may be on its way out in the pop sense, but it was only there in the first place because we’ve seen how all-pervasive it actually is. And its a dark motherfucker. This album may come off as ‘goofy’ in a sense, but only inasmuch as it laughs in the face of its own tragedy.

    I don’t mean to use your comment board as a soapbox. And I hope you’ll interpret my tone as engaging in a discussion, not trying to condescend.

  2. Josh says:

    Thanks for the comments Joel. I guess the only thing I would defend from what you said is my use of the word “weird.” I don’t think of it as a hollow word or something that is used in lieu of not knowing how to describe the record. I think the material is slightly off kilter, which to me is one of the highest compliments I can pay towards a band. If something isn’t “weird” I think of it as run of the mill and lacking in originality. Might not have been as eloquent as I would have liked, but just wanted to clarify it was meant as a compliment.

  3. Joel says:

    Fair enough. I guess we agree then. Cool.

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