Sleep ∞ Over: Forever Review
There often seems to be a schism between music that falls closer to the pop realm and music that allows for the wrangling of dissonance to take the lead. If songs get too “weird” they lose the chance to make a bigger cultural impact, while anything deemed too “poppy” will inevitably be greeted by calls of “sellout” from music heads. Some listeners (and bands) seem to feel like the choice between the two is black and white and deserves, if not outright requires, a choice between to the two. Texas band Sleep ∞ Over, part of the Austin based ambient pop scene with likeminded bands Pure X, Silent Diane and others, prove that the separation isn’t necessary and use a mixture of the two to create a dark, ambient and downright beautiful debut record with Forever, out soon on Hippos in Tanks.
Forever is the kind of album that finds the haunted beauty in eerie fogs of noise and dissonance. Songs range from the chilly pop (a la late era Gang Gang Dance) of “Romantic Streams” to the desolate soundscapes of “Behind Closed Doors.” On tracks like “Crying Game” the group seem to take direction from the dark, dystopic ambient jams that bands like Grouper do so well. The siren sampling post-R&B of “Casual Diamond” may best offer the lovers-in-the-red-light-district sound that encompasses the record. “Flying Saucers are Real” sounds like a technicolor acid flashbacks of Animal Collectives past, while “Stickers” is pretty straighforward hazy pop. The record as a whole comes across as a confident collection of songs, melding the abstract and the austere over the course of the albums ten songs.
Following the solid debut LP from Pure X and a great 7” from Silent Diane, Forever may be the strongest, most sustained offering from the groups circling their scene. Finding the middle ground between the while noise ambience and the three chord pop that most people feel are mutually exclusive, Sleep ∞ Over are the latest example of a group willing the fuse the two sounds to great success, creating a stirring debut record that find them both holding their own and showing they are a young band with a strong future ahead of them.