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Sleepy Sun – Fever

on April 19, 2010, 8:01am

Sleepy Sun make records for a generation who watch movies like Easy Rider and get just a little jealous that they can’t ride a motorcycle full of drugs across the west, even if it doesn’t end so well. Their material lends itself to long, hazy, psychedelic romps that go best with lava lamps and black light posters. Their name says it all, too. It takes you back to a time when rock wasn’t afraid to be “out there.” Now returning for seconds, Fever continues on with the acid drenched psychedelia, this time bringing a cleaner sound, and a furthering the group’s identity as a new band playing on old ties. In a decade that feels like it’s heard it all, why not go back to the Haight-Ashbury days for a little rock ‘n’ roll relief.

Other than a sharper image, not too much separates Fever from Sleepy Sun’s 2009 debut, Embrace. The new record is just as ambitious as it is old school with songs that aren’t afraid to go for the gut and leave your ears ringing. Think of the frame of Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused”, slow building and turning until guitarist Jimmy Page slaps you awake with his six-string. In the same vein, Fever also demands to be turned up from the get-go with opener “Marina” diving into the sultry slow waves of late 60’s blues-rock. Dreamy yet steamy and on fire, it’s one hell of an introduction to the heady sounds and sparkling harmonies that fill the album to the brim.

A rock record for jam heads, and a jam record for rockers, the album is a sexy acid romp that doesn’t want you leaving in your right mind. The songs move from quiet and slow, to loud and scorching with high solos, sonic mind benders, and steady distorted bass work leading the way. Not much stays the same during a song as it works you through the trip they seem to be striving for. “Wild Machines” has the guitars chugging and crying out for a heated six-minute jam before calming back into the verse. The feedback heavy “Acid Love” trails off into a void of static before leading into the bohemian guitar lines of the aptly titled “Desert God”. You can almost picture the rolling sand dunes in the beginning of the song before it launches into the guitar and harmonica break down that takes over from there.

While a few of the new songs may carry a folksier feel, there’s a definite consistency with this band that’s easily picked up on after a few listens. The Graham Parsons-inspired acoustics of “Rigamaroo”, which has their female member taking on more of the lead vocals, strip down the percussion for an earthier feel. The dynamic between the vocalists provides great chemistry and works well to step up the sound over all. Mostly though the tracks are murky stoner jams like “Open Eyes” keeping you dazed the whole time.

Being the band that they are, building lengthy tracks seems to come second nature. Album closer “Sandstone Woman” is a nine-minute blues rock opus that throws together the bands key attributes and spits out what could be their best song yet. It starts with a slow bass line and echoing guitar strums, and eventually builds with dueling wa-wa guitars into more of the wall of sound blues-rock they love. It’s just another of the many six-minute plus tracks that never lag and always excite.

Sleepy Sun are on their way to making a name for themselves as one of the top acts in a new wave of psychedelic bands. They do a good job sticking to the tried and true methods of the Woodstock era psych-rock, but you can’t help but wonder if there’s more to them than this. Fever is over flowing with talent, but it’s hard at times to find who the band is amongst a style of music that’s already been proven for over 40 years. While 1969 sure sounded great, it would be nice to hear a little more of them, rather than their influences. That being said, you still can’t deny the music along the way.

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