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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum: "In Glorious Times"

"In Glorious Times" is my first encounter with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, a band whose music and lyrics are much more passionate and serious than their name would imply. Defining the band's sound is no laughing matter either. Drawing influences from every conceivable corner of the music landscapes, this band is near-impossible to define or label. At times they can sound like the better moments of Mars Volta, before anthem-ing it up a bit and going the route of Dream Theater. But before you know it, they've thrown another curve in your direction, and it sounds like you're listening to an entirely different genre of music altogether (Metal to be precise). While it's a bit cliched nowadays to call your band "undefinable," to say that you break musical boundaries, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is one of the few bands I've actually heard that fulfill such a boast. If "In Glorious Times" is on thing, it is proof of that.

"Angle of Repose" utilizes angular guitars and frantic violins to accompany the beautiful female vocals. When the female vocalist sings "I buried the dead and they came up stories. I planted the stories, they grew up singing" it is unbelievably effective. It's even more effective when she later moan/growls the same line, crossing into Bjork territory in the process. It is avant-garde to be sure! The epic gothic-opera styling of "Puppet Show" only goes to further emphasize this point, with it's powerful vocals and creepy pianos.

The sort of talent displayed in these two songs is apparent throughout the album. The drums, guitar, and bass guitar on this album are also incredible, as can clearly be seen in tracks like "Salt Crown" and "The Ossuary." More often than not, complex orchestration is added into the songs to further accentuate the terrific instrumentation. In "The Greenless Wreath" for example, the song begins on a low note before being catapulted into the stratosphere by an amazingly composed string score.

My only real complaint with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is the bass-heavy, guitar-driven style of music that they often fall back on. Personally, I have never been a fan of this style of music. However, I have much respect for the band for separating themselves from the hordes of untalented metal bands out there today. "In Glorious Times" is a phenomenal achievement for any band of any genre! I highly recommend this album to fans of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and for people who have yet to hear the band, but have strong feelings for the metal and avant-garde rock genre. I cannot see how one could be disappointed by such an effort.

Key Tracks:
1. "Companions"
2. "Angel of Repose"
3. "Ossuary"
4. "Greenless Wreath"

7 out of 10 Stars

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