Post rock is an elusive genre, encompassing a myriad of styles, nuances and influences. From the dreamy headspaces of God is An Astronaut to the evocative sludge of The :Egocentrics, the full spectrum of human emotions can be found in this prolific field. However, there’s definitely a trend which focuses on introspection and thus melancholy, homesickness and loneliness. sleepmakeswaves are no different, with their debut release …and so we destroyed everything being a contemplative and rarefied listening experience. It was wholly refreshing then to listen to their new album, Love of Cartography, and hear an emotion bearing an all together different quality: an infectious happiness that is tinged with hopeful melodies, playful electronics and powerful guitars. Other sounds can definitely be identified, but this album is first and foremost exactly what its name hints at: a creation of love.
The first two tracks, the aptly named ‘The Perfect Detonator’ and ‘Traced in Constellations’, set the tone from the first few notes. Picking off with helter-skelter electronics, ‘The Perfect Detonator’ virtually explodes, releasing a tide of perfectly combined drums, bass and guitar. While resting for a bit at certain points, the energetic arrangements will carry us all the way into the fourth track, ‘Emergent’. The first two tracks then speak of uncontrollable energy, the need to move and explore and the giddiness that comes with travel. They achieve this with the unique sleepmakeswaves sound, that being highly refined guitar tones reminiscent of Cloudkicker and ingenious bass-drums work that lends the more airy sounds a firm basis.
Back to ‘Emergent’. After having stopped at a short interlude in the form of the third track, ‘Emergent’ introduces us to one of the most infectious and down right smile-inducing lines in the entire album. The heady energy from the first two tracks returns but is now much heavier: the drums hit harder, the bass is direct and the guitar veritably shreds the main sound apart to further amplify the effect. ‘Emergent’ is the one of the highest points of the album, an exhilarating track which displays the beauty of this album well: this is sleepmakeswaves but there’s something new here, something younger, crisper and more forthright. This new vigor can also be found in the tracks ‘Great Northern’ and ‘Something Like Avalanches’, both released as singles. They share a common mark: a main leitmotif that is returned to again and again, from different points of view.
However, if you’re itching for that contemplative and somehow unshakably sad tinge of the previous release, that is to be found here as well. Not by accident, the band have given it a special place, as if acknowledging what is, after all, their root sound. This podium is the closing track, ‘Your Time Will Come Again’. It opens with oceanic ambiance that is slow-moving, breathtaking and utterly enchanting. The slow and contemplative beginning slowly, very slowly, builds up to an epic crescendo. This technique is well known to fans of the band and genre but it is utilized here to its perfection, setting the stage for the familiar ache that comes with the closing of a superb album. And this is what this release is: a superb record, utilizing all strengths of the band while infusing them with new found power. This is an album to smile to, to travel to, to discover to.
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sleepmakeswaves’s Love of Cartography gets…