When one thinks of cities with strong ties to music the usual suspects of Brooklyn, LA, Portland, and Seattle come readily to mind. Though so does Athens, Georgia, home of the venue 40 Watt Club, and bands like R.E.M, The B 52’s, Elephant 6, Of Montreal, Danger Mouse and of course countless others to which there is no argument that I have missed.
Our concern here deals not with these aforementioned harbingers of their genres but with the slightly less famous ambient Athenites Sleep Dance. For the past three years Sleep Dance members Matt Kreisher (vocals/ guitar), Nick Vawter (drums/percussion), Will Atkins (bass) and Brad Morgan (guitar) have been playing out the songs which comprise their first album Intervals.
In the grand scheme of things three years is a long time to be doing the same thing. And so it’s no surprise that the songs on Intervals are taught as a high wire. One hears from the very beginning a band that has been playing together for a time and knows when to ebb and when to flow. It also then comes as no surprise that Intervals was recorded, mixed and mastered by singer Matt Kreisher.
Intervals opens with “Intervals” a slow, slightly ambient tune with shimmery licks of guitars and Kreisher’s soft speak sweet vocals. It’s pretty in a way for a while, the way first love is pretty, but after a while one sees it for what it is, just another entity. The track that follows, “Nothing” a slightly eccentric pop rock tune withers as it plays on, even as it turns into a prog rock styled breakdown. One gets the sense that Sleep Dance may have forgotten there are people listening and seems to have gone into a jam session purely for their own delight.
Later, on the drowsy “Map of Land” they attempt the same concept of slow buildup that relies on a lot of percussion, which threatens rain but really only lays on a drizzle of mildly angry guitars. Then there is the slightly pretty “Riddle” which only ends up revisiting the earlier ambience of the opener. This is followed by the seven-minute-long “Cavern” which having some solid moments goes on a little too long.
Overall, Intervals is solid effort that is perfect but enjoyable.
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