Sleepmakeswaves
Love of Cartography


5.0
classic

Review

by shostakoverture USER (11 Reviews)
July 4th, 2014 | 71 replies


Release Date: 07/04/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sleepmakeswaves combine static and sonic euphoria to produce a unique, dynamic, and adventurous second offering.

The concept of post-rock as a dying, increasingly uninspired genre has been done to bits, but there's a reason for that. I've hunted around Bandcamp for days on end, listening to the opening of a few songs and then, almost exclusively skipping the rest of the album and jumping to another. Sometimes I'll even go so far as to download an entire album, but that usually results in the first two tracks gathering one or two plays a day and the rest of the tracklist going untouched. I don't think this is solely based on my musical attention deficit. I'm genuinely intrigued by the first few tracks, sometimes listening to them over and over again, but as a general rule, I don't think I'm alone in saying that post-rock as a genre seems to have reached a standstill in its characteristic sonic exploration.

And yet despite the claims of post-rock becoming stale, it still manages to move forward. Some of the more established bands like 65daysofstatic have moved into the more electronic side of things. Pioneers like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky seem to have mellowed out, just a little bit. Newer, more mainstream-oriented bands like Mayland are sidestepping rather than moving forward, per se, focusing on the vocal-less aspect of their genre, redesigning themselves as “instrumental garage rock” or “post-progressive” rather than the umbrella “post-rock.”

And sleepmakeswaves? Well, sleepmakeswaves has never really been a band hiding behind subtlety.

Sleepmakeswaves has never disappointed me, either. Upon my very first stream of in today already walks tomorrow, I was captured. I've since purchased their entire available physical catalogue. My copy of Love Of Cartography was a bit more of a hesitant buy (solely due to the Australia-to-Canada shipping) but I knew, upon my first listen of “Something Like Avalanches,” that this was an album I had to have, and will never tire of.

First and, at least to me, foremost, about Cartography is the surprising lack of sleepmakeswaves' trademark lowercase. Whether or not this was a conscious choice, it does portray a more commerically-minded direction for the Aussie quartet. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing! In fact, the production on this album, even tighter than that on ...and so we destroyed everything, is absolute dynamite.

For example, on lead single “Something Like Avalanches,” which begins with twenty seconds of pure electronics, it's almost like hearing a completely different band. No longer are the beeps and buzzes subdued as they were on their previous offerings. Nay, sleepmakeswaves has let go of any electrophobia they may have held. The electronic elements immediately draw comparisons to Sheffield electrocore moguls 65daysofstatic (likely a conscious choice, as the two bands are fairly close and have toured together on several occasions) but sleepmakeswaves manages to hold on to their own musical identity despite this synthesizing of sound, keeping them apart from the hundreds of Explosions clones strewn across the post-rock cutting room floor. This is a band that is unafraid of using electronic elements as melody; evolving and modernizing their sound and yet maintaining hold of Kid and Otto's dynamite guitars, Tim's versatile and tasteful drumming and Alex's excellent bass work that makes them who they are.

As incredible as “Avalanches” is, it's only the ninth track on the album. Leaving the lead single so late in the tracklist has worked for bands before (See “Drawing Maps From Memory” by North Atlantic Oscillation) but it certainly requires an energetic and attention-holding beginning. Looking at some of the track lengths (“Emergent” clocks in at over eight minutes, and it's only the fifth cut) I was worried about potential for boredom, or at least some moments of drag, but the only song I was really left questioning was “Singularity.” It's a one-minute sonic palate-cleanser that sets the mood for “Emergent,” but I had to listen to it several times to really get a feel for its relevance in the album.

I struggle to choose a top three, or even a top five. There's not exactly a "(hello) cloud mountain" on Cartography, although that's not to say there aren't songs that catch the post-rock newbie's attention. In terms of immediacy or radio potential, I have to recommend “Traced In Constellations” (which wouldn't feel out of place on an And So I Watch You From Afar album) and “Great Northern.” The former is probably the most action-packed song on the album, an urgent opening calming down, although never slowing beyond a brisk jog. The latter is, in my opinion, at least, the strongest standalone cut on the album. It's driving, melodic, and features some brilliant piano work as well as some moments of synth/guitar cooperation that leave the listener breathless. While sleepmakeswaves claims that “Great Northern” was named for one of their preferred gig locations, it's not hard to imagine an adventurous escapade to the top of the world, marching through ice and battling the elements.

I'm not going to go into too much more detail regarding song structure or anything like that. When it comes down to it, this is an album that must be experienced for oneself; a shout in the dark, pleading for you to hear its message and give it a listen, if not fifty. Sleepmakeswaves cannot be stopped, and Love Of Cartography proves that post-rock is not dead, and will never die, so long as the quartet continues to write, record, and most importantly, play.

Key Tracks:

"Perfect Detonator"

"Emergent"

"Great Northern"

"How We Built The Ocean"

"Something Like Avalanches"



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user ratings (65)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
shostakoverture
July 4th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I didn't have space for them in the recommended albums, but NOMADS, a post-rock band from Cleveland, is another of the sonic pioneers. They have their own very unique and evolved sound, and I highly recommend taking a look at their first album, which is available for name-your-price on their Bandcamp.

Digging: Acollective - Pangaea

YakNips
July 4th 2014


13181 Comments


oh fuck I gotta check this

Digging: Jordaan Mason - The Decline of Stupid Fucking Western Civilization

Amphoteric
July 4th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Damn, another record I was somewhat disappointed by.

sixdegrees
July 4th 2014


17693 Comments


reading between the lines, this sounds pretty boring tbh. I did enjoy their previous stuff tho

Digging: Sputnik - Christmas At Our House

Amphoteric
July 4th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's got its moments, but it's pretty unremarkable as a whole imo. I've only listened to it once though, hopefully it'll get better with more listens.

minty901
July 4th 2014


2084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this review was quick.

shostakoverture
July 4th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@minty901 if you're talking about short, i don't really think so. if you're talking about early, i got my copy yesterday, so i've been through it a couple times.

@Amphoteric, @sixdegrees i really enjoyed it; as much if not more than ...destroyed. i guess it's really about personal preference. i'm a massive 65dos fan, so hearing the electrocore influence was certainly a treat. it's not a boring album, though.

Drummerboy123
July 4th 2014


2423 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I like this more than the debut. The main guitar riff in 'traced in constellations' is so uplifting it's not even funny.

Loving the electronica aspect to their sound, I always wish they played around with it more and now they have. The EP is still their best work imo but this comes pretty damn close.

minty901
July 4th 2014


2084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i gave it a bit of a listen in the background at work and was thinking "ugh, i dont like 65dos so i really hope this isnt just a bunch of 65dos sorta stuff. then i got to a track when i had to stop my work and think "holy fuck this track is incredible". i checked and it was called emergent. other than that i havent listened to this properly yet. when i heard the 65dos influence i was disappointed and thought i might not get it but after emergent in the background im pretty excited.

shostakoverture
July 4th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

65dos have certainly shuffled their sound around (and i have a love/like relationship with them. sometimes i'm infatuated, sometimes i'm not super interested), so a direct comparison is a little bit more difficult to make, but there's definitely a vibe. i think it works here, for sure, but it really depends on you. this album is a grower, for sure!

Mad.
July 4th 2014


4184 Comments


You can edit the review and add more recommended bands btw.

Brilliant review as always, pos'd. Very interesting read, hope this lives up to the review and the
debut!

Amphoteric
July 4th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The intro to Emergent is definitely one of my favorite parts of the album.

minty901
July 4th 2014


2084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah emergent is still awesome. has a caspian "fire made flesh" / "The Heart that Fed" vibe to it with its bursts of rock.

Amphoteric
July 4th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

No post-rock song will ever live up to the title track of the last album though, that track is easily my favorite post-rock song I've ever heard.

minty901
July 4th 2014


2084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah. thats one of my least favourite smw songs. emergent is emerging (...) as their best song already. fucking great. very, very caspian,
but with a lot more energy. the distorted tremolo picking sounds just like the guitars on the four trees.

Amphoteric
July 4th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I still don't get how you can like SMW and not like that song, that song has everything; melancholic
piano in the beginning, soaring, uplifting riffs and clean sections, great electronic melodies, and
that awesome heavy buildup and riff at around the 4 minute mark. You just can't ask for any more than
that imo, haha

wacknizzle
July 4th 2014


13670 Comments


Can't wait to hear this

Digging: Phobocosm - Deprived

shostakoverture
July 4th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it's up for streaming on their Bandcamp, if you want to give it a listen.

minty901
July 4th 2014


2084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im more into their first album/ep. sounds silly but stereotypical postrock really sits well with me. with their second album they became a lot more dynamic. which is objectively great but doesnt sit with me quite the same. i will write peace... is their best song because of that soaring guitar line at the end.

Amphoteric
July 4th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

In Today Already Walks Tomorrow is still my favorite thing they've released as well, though my favorite track on there is "One Day You Will Teach Me To Let Go Of My Fears". The violin parts that Tim Charles recorded are amazing.



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