Review Summary: Fever dream.
Sleepwalker (or, 夢遊病者) is a Japanese-Russian-American smelting pot, genre-blending various metallic elements in interesting, effective ways. In their best moments, the trio organically capture sounds that many inferior bands would spend multiple albums failing to devise. Songs like opener “Empty Urns” and follow-up “White Linen” have a loose foundation of deathgrind, swallowed in bass-heavy ambience while vocalist PBV (not a ton of biographical info on these guys) seems to utter maniacal summons in a lucid dream. Elsewhere, the EP treads in blackgaze territory, like on album highlight “Black Ribbon”, with thick, catchy, distorted rhythms, melodic clean guitar leads, and vocals controlling the tide with a venerable hush. Within any given minute, there is almost an album’s worth of potential - both in musical detail, and psycho-emotional intrigue. “No Flowers” captures a sense of self-assurance, while soaring guitar melodies seem to write romantic incantations in a dusty, ghoulish tome. It’s often difficult to make heads or tails of what Sleepwalker aim for, and furthermore, it’s surprising how many marks they hit in their ambiguity. At times, 5772
is tender and ethereal, at other times it’s brutish and infernal, and it’s not always obvious what happens when. It’s suitable, as the band seems content shrouded in a bit of playful mystery (see: the projected 2037 release date, or the acronymous names). Sleepwalker have an out-of-nowhere curiousness that makes them a bit frustrating to peg, and an adventurous psych-rock vibe harkening to some of Keiji Haino’s work with Fushitsusha
. It’s a restless trip, full of memorable riffs, textural bliss, and condensed songwriting that could be stretched to fill a competent double album. 5772
is blurry psychosis, bottled and shaken.