Sleepingdog
With Our Heads in the Clouds...


2.5
average

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
May 1st, 2011 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist


What makes Stars of the Lid, the Austin, Texas ambient duo, so damn good at what they do is an almost intangible quality that can really only be aptly summarized by the oh-so-vague: they just feel it, man. This is to say, they just know how to build their layers of ambience to just the right texture, how to put that key change in just right the spot, how to place just the slightest hint of melody to break the drones into something cathartic. Sleepingdog are not Stars of the Lid, but this eliding intro has a purpose because Adam Wiltzie – one half of Stars of the Lid – is a big contributor to Sleepingdog’s new album, With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields. This is a good thing; when Wiltzie’s lushly textured arrangements take center stage, With Our Heads is a rather good if not great album. But, again, this is not a Stars of the Lid album, but rather a Sleepingdog album, and thus these arrangements have to be paired with Chantal Acda’s vocals, and, more importantly, her songwriting.

It’s not that her voice is in anyway bad; it’s pretty and soothing and precious and technically rather solid. But it also lacks a certain force to it that makes the listener take notice of the album. It floats by unimaginatively in large parts of the album, particularly in the numbing “It Leaves Us Silent” and the airy “ooohs” of the following track “Polish Love Song.” The vocals just seem to be there, as a pretty little reminder that Acda is in the mix somewhere too. Otherwise the show is (unsurprisingly) stolen by Wiltzie’s fantastic arrangements. The humming, low-key instrumental “Kitten Plays the Harmony Rocket” has all the markings of a good Stars of the Lid track, as splashes of chords wash the drones in colourful hues of moods. His predominant contributions are fixed all over the two best pieces of the album: “Untitled Ballad of You and Me” and “He Loved to See the World Through His Camera.”

These tracks also feature the two best vocal performances from Acda. “Through His Camera” manages to pair a lovely singer-songwriter melody with a haunting atmosphere superbly – something the rest of the album falls so far short from. More powerful, even, is the album opener’s inclusion of a forceful organ part that compliments the layered, effects-laden vocals to make what is easily the most impressive moment on the album. These two songs in particular seem to paint the impressions of a better album; a showing of potential of what could’ve been. The rest of the album, right to the sleepy closer “Scary Movies,” mixes honest and simple lyrics, airy vocals and great ambient arrangements to very little effect. In the glutton of pretty records, With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields presents itself as a merely a needle in the haystack; the likelihood is that it will be lost in the mix, not good enough to be remember, but also not bad enough to be singled-out.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (4)
With their latest LP, Sleepingdog has once again created an album that will haunt our ears, engage o...


Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hey everyone! Yes, it's been a while, so this review may read a little rusty. Anyhoo, apparently more people enjoyed this than I did, but yeah, they're wrong, etc. etc.

SeaAnemone
May 1st 2011


20534 Comments


The rest of the album, right to the sleepy closer “Scary Movies” mixes honest and simple lyrics,

are you missing a comma there is it just me?


AND NO KEELAN YOU'RE WRONG NOT ME

Digging: Pharmakon - Bestial Burden

Knott-
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


10198 Comments


HEY KEELAN!!!!!!!

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

oops, thanks Eric


Edit: HEY ADAM

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2011


7097 Comments


ahhh this is a staff and contrib party. I'll just leave then lol. But before i do... Is this worth picking up, as far as ambience goes?

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

it's nice in parts, but idk. Listen to it here:

http://www.3voor12.vpro.nl/luisterpaal

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2011


7097 Comments


Thanks, yeah like you said, 'nice in parts'. Might give it another go in a week, might be one of those 'listen to it again, it will get better'

Ponton
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


5804 Comments


Hate to inform you, Keelan, but Adam Thomas will be, once again, ignoring this review that you've written.

It was a good try all the same, and I, personally, enjoyed reading it as I do enjoy reading all sorts of reviews from the many reviewers that write here, be it user, contributor, staff, or emeritus.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


31362 Comments


Am I the only one who sees the black diamonds?

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Knott-
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


10198 Comments


,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


31362 Comments


Okay, now I'm just confused

Also, I still need to listen to this

Knott-
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


10198 Comments


yeh there are diamonds

me 2

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


15743 Comments


no there are black diamonds

good thing keelan got to this cuz i could not think of anything worth saying about this beyond "s'cool
i guess"

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


16429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think the main thing we disagree about is the vocals

good review.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Did you just call me Keeran.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2011


7097 Comments


I believe he did.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


15743 Comments


get a name like downer people never mess that up

fix'd

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


10498 Comments


keeran its your asian name

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

People tell me Keelan Harkin is a fantastic writers name. I concur. Don't be a name downer.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 1st 2011


4950 Comments


trying to get all staffer's on page 1



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