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Sleepyard: Head Values

As often as not here at SoT, when you first slip a CD into the player for review you’re going in blind. That was indeed the case for myself and Sleepyard, a band who seem to stretch back into the late 90s, but which I have never encountered before. The setting for our first sojourn was my car and if ever a mistake was made, then it was that one right there. Head Values, this Norwegian band’s tenth album, is not music for a busy journey, the sound of engines, indicators and angry drivers quickly drowning out the near ambient sound revealed.

At very few points does Head Values deem itself lowly enough to provide anything coming close to a song, with the beat and electronic groove that kicks in during track three, “Wild Rain”, one of the few nods in that direction. The intention here is rather one of mood and atmosphere and I’d guess that experiencing this album in a crowded public place through headphones would make for a rather surreal experience, the pace and feel of Head Values a singular experience that cares not much for convention. That said, “Falling In Love” works against expectations, a deep female vocal playing off a piano base and Gilmour like guitar swoop, with the latter aspect rearing its head a few more times as the album plays out.

I’d suggest that later era Talk Talk comes as close to a comparison as I can muster for Sleepyard, with around half of the band’s album art even hinting in that direction, but it’s more in ethos than execution, with the feeling that what we’re being allowed to glimpse here is movements and passages being fleshed out and telling their stories in front of us rather than songs for our entertainment. In the incorrect setting the results make for a confusing, easily forgotten whisper. However, settle down and allow these sounds to trickle into your subconscious and suddenly they have a lot to say and a lot to engage with. That hardly makes for an album that the modern world will let you listen to on a daily basis, but when you can, the rewards are plentiful.

Track Listing
1. Klinkekule
2. Peace Voyage
3. Wild Rain
4. Dream Solution
5. Black Butterflies
6. Falling On Love
7. Neon City
8. Theme From Slow
9. Great Heaven
10. Rust And Stardust
11. Holy Day (Reprise)

Added: August 18th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Sleepyard online
Hits: 366
Language: english

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