Album Review :
Cool Hand Luke - The Sleeping House

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Artist: Cool Hand Luke
Album: The Sleeping House
Label: Lujo Records
Release Date: October 14, 2008
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Fast Asleep
2. Cast Your Bread
3. Failing in Love
4. Buy the Truth
5. The Mirror
6. Eye of the Storm
7. The City Prevails
8. Spirit Sing
9. Wondertour
10. The House
11. Incomprehensible Sleep
12. Wide Awake

A song that I’ve always had a special connection with since the day I heard it is Cool Hand Luke’s “Cinematic.” The piano and voice work together to create a beautiful song in itself, but it is the lyrics that make it so amazing in painting a picture of personal failure and God as the hero who saves the victim from that failure. This song is what I expect from Cool Hand Luke, what I hold up as the standard they must meet for a new song to be good. And if that song cannot stand next to what they’ve shown they can do with “Cinematic,” I will be disappointed with Cool Hand Luke.

So sitting down to review their third full-length album, The Sleeping House, the question that comes to mind is, “Do these songs meet the standard? Is this the sort of quality I have come to expect from the guys in Cool Hand Luke?” The answer is a very hesitant yes. Yes because these songs are fantastic. The music is still beautiful, and the tracks flow together to create the rare experience known as an actual album (as opposed to a simple collection of singles). The sound is lush and solidified, with the instruments building off of each other to form a very complete and thick feel. It’s an obvious top-ten-of-2008 choice for any fan of melodic, piano-infused indie-rock in the vein of Copeland, Mae, or Coldplay. Hesitant because there is nothing that immediately grabs me like “Cinematic” did. Sure, the songs are great, but none really stand out as being so totally great. As a whole, the record is a fantastic record. And to be honest, there are some moments in the lyrics that speak to the same depth, such as the end of “The Mirror,” which sings, “I’ve been so many people, to so many people. But I just want to be who You want me to be.” It’s relatable and incredibly meaningful, but it’s one line out of a whole song. It’s a memorable part of the album, but unfortunately little more stands out this well.

Like I’ve said, this is a really good record with that nice album flow that is missing in a lot of iTunes-friendly music today. Lyrically, there’s a lot to think about, but unlike some other artists, you’ll have to work for it this time because Cool Hand Luke doesn’t lay it out plainly. Things are also a bit darker than usual musically, which may account for my apparent lack of a new “Cinematic” feel, but Cool Hand Luke pulls it off well and continues to be themselves as they grow and expand their sound.

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