Review Summary: This is a band that, upon previous releases, would express multiple ideas in single songs. Now, with their new approach and new working title, each musical idea is given its own spatial dimensions as a series of “hits”. Pun intended.
A band has never sorely missed a founding member this much. Not since the days of burying Jason Newsted in the mix as a practical joke has a band sounded so drastically misshapen. It is possible for fans of old to avoid lamenting the departure of Rachel Fannan, a founding member who obviously was instrumental (no pun intended) in arranging structural elements of Sleepy Sun’s music, but it is very, very hard not to. What she leaves behind though, is one Bret Constantino who sounds much more empowered and inspired as a vocalist (read: lonely if you’re one of those fans), and a faster, more lively set of tracks. This is not a bad thing. We’re all open-minded round these parts. That’s why we all have tickets to Radiohead AND One Direction. Right?
When you listen to Stivey Pond and Creature, Fannan is hardly missed at all. In recent publications in the wake of Spine Hits’ release, Fannan’s poisonous presence on the band has been revealed and her departure is thereby justified. Bret Constantino is granted more ability to shine on his own, and the band ventures into new musical territory with a conviction that Fannan didn’t allow. V.O.G showcases a guitar groove that may just remind you of the White Album’s Helter Skelter. Then again, it may not. I see and hear similarities between the strangest things.
The departure of Fannan lets Conatantino breathe new life into the band that wasn’t allowed before. Constantino’s appreciation of Fannan in both a romantic and musical sense somewhat stifled his own position in the band, and he has spoken on how he has been able to step up his own performance in the band since her departure. Just listen to Boat Trip to hear him very much powerful and kicking on his own. The only improvement Sleepy Sun can make on their already impressive career would be for the other members of the band to start singing live. Constantino sounds most lonely at live venues, much more than in the studio. I hope that in a near tour they decide to visit Sydney, in which case I would have the chance to verify whether or not the band needs to sing behind him.
This is a band that, upon previous releases, would express multiple ideas in single songs. Now, with their new approach and new working title, each musical idea is given its own spatial dimensions as a series of “hits”. Pun intended. In 2010, the 11 tracks on this album might have been spliced into 8 or 9, but accessibility with age is natural, and shouldn’t be condemned.