Album Review :
Sleep For Sleepers - The Clearing

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Band: Sleep For Sleepers
Title: The Clearing
Label: Dreamt Music / Facedown Records
Release Date: May 12, 2009
Review By: Scott L


01. Bravery
02. Thieves And Bones
03. Foreign
04. Keep Your Voices
05. Statelines
06. The Harbor
07. The Fearless
08. Twilight
09. The Distance
10. The Sea
11. Love Is For The Foolish
12. The Clearing

I could never be a Mormon. For a number of reasons. Aside from their abuse of scripture and embracing of extra-Biblical revelation… my biggest problem with their doctrine isn’t about spirit babies, magic underwear, or name badges… it revolves around caffeine. I happen to love the stuff. I also happen to need the stuff… because I have a problem with sleeping. Namely, I don’t like to do it… so I don’t. At least, not nearly as often as I should. I’ve always secretly envied people that could discipline themselves to go to sleep early. I also envy those that can marathon sleep for like 12 or 14 hours at a time. Did you know that snails can sleep for 2 years? True story. Sleep to me has always been kind of a necessary evil. But I’ve found something that might just sway my opinion. Because if this is sleep… I like it.

Sleep For Sleepers is a 3-piece out of Whittier, California that plays a soothing style of indie rock. The pendulum swings from melancholy rock to more pop-oriented rock to an almost old-school emo rock. Sleep For Sleepers’ sound is both pleasantly familiar and hard to pin down. There are a whole lot of elements working together to make their sound what it is. I’d draw comparisons to This Providence, Deas Vail, and Ocean Is Theory to a certain degree.

Sleep For Sleepers is set to release this 12-song CD on May 12th through Dreamt Music / Facedown Records. Some may be familiar with the content of this CD as it was originally released last year independently. And, if you really want to get technical, three of the songs on this CD were originally released by Sleep For Sleepers’ previous incarnation, The Red Coterie, back in 2007. But you won’t hear me complaining; two of the three re-re-released songs were my standout tracks. More on that in a minute.

Now using descriptive words like ‘soothing’ and ‘melancholy’ in no way implies that these guys’ll put you to sleep. Although, if I were a doctor, I’d give some serious thought to prescribing an hour a day of Sleep For Sleepers to patients with high blood pressure. That, along with an aquarium of tropical fish, could work wonders. “The Clearing” is relaxation on demand. And highly enjoyable relaxation at that. I could listen to this stuff for hours. I know it, because I just did it… and never once did I reach for the ‘skip’ button.

Lyrically, Sleep For Sleepers keeps things pretty neutral. From time to time blending in a somewhat more spiritual sentiment, like in the title track, “The Clearing”… “I’ve searched through valleys and fought in the cold / but never found rest in me / eager eyes, would you lean in here / would you face your fears / for I am convinced that it’s love that you’ve shown me / while I’ve tested seasons in search for your glory”.

Standout tracks were “The Sea” and “Keep Your Voices”. “The Sea” is an amazing piano piece that flows along for two and a half minutes with some beautiful vocal harmonies before boiling over for a final minute of pure passion. “Keep Your Voices” is an outstanding sing-along pop anthem and would be the first radio single if I had any say in it. Which I don’t. But I can dream. “Statelines” was a close runner-up. It’s infectious and hard not to get swept up into it… especially since it starts out with clapping. That’s right… with hands. Not applause, just clapping to the beat. You’ll have to hear it to appreciate it. But I guaranty that if you do hear it, you will like it.

Overall: “The Clearing” is an excellent addition to the Dreamt Music / Facedown Records family and definitely deserves the attention of the wider audience a label release affords. While I’m partial to the CD cover of the independently released version, this re-release is pretty much a gimme if you’re into mellow indie rock with some great pop sensibilities thrown in at times. So save your laundry money, it’s not gonna hurt you to wear that shirt one more time… it’s for a great cause. And you’ll get a great CD out of the deal.