Review Summary: All we are is all we are...
Three piece Sleep Parade have gone through a lot in the past few years, both good and bad. Prior to recording Things Can Always Change
the band lost nearly all of their equipment in a fire and also had their keyboardist quit halfway through the recording process. On the other side of the coin, the band was hand picked by Porcupine Tree as the sole supports on their last two Australian tours, as well as selling out plenty of their own headlining gigs around the country. Such a rollercoaster ride is bound to impact on the music created, however it is perhaps front man/guitarist Leigh Davies’ father’s battle with schizophrenia that is most influential in the song writing. This constant fight has given rise to Sleep Parade’s debut album being one of the most sincere and passionate albums released in Australia for a long while.
The album kicks off with perhaps the punchiest number on the record, ‘Carry On.’ It is immediately obvious why the song was chosen as the lead single, with its large synth presence and the huge chorus from guitarist/singer Leigh Davies proving to be quite infectious, bellowing ‘Carry on, leave it all behind’
. On follow up track ‘Everyday,’ Sleep Parade show they are equally at ease playing Oceansize influenced epics as they are playing catchy modern rock. Backed by the strong rhythm section of Dan Teng (Drums) and James Livesey (Bass), Davies gives the listener an indication of his guitar skill, busting out a nifty little solo towards the end of the song before launching into another huge chorus. ‘Everyday’ actually packs a fair bit of emotional weight, with Davies essentially singing to his father,
“This mental prison cell of insecurity,
Your pain lives within me....
I feel your pain, everyday.”
While being able to fit quite nicely into the current Australian alternative rock scene, Sleep Parade have managed to set themselves apart easily because they’re not afraid to use a lot of electronics or acoustic guitars. This is particularly true on songs such as second single ‘Passengers’ and the emotional ‘Open Up.’ Like every song on the album, ‘Open Up’ possesses a huge number of layers, both vocally and instrumentally, creating quite a dense sound for a trio. The large use of layers also proves its worth on the Porcupine Tree like ‘All We Are,’ with Davies haunting voice seemingly following itself around over the top of acoustic guitars. Similarly, the large use of synths on ‘Underground’ call back to Kid A
Atmosphere is one of the first things that come to mind when listening to Things Can Always Change
, moving from being quite dense to quite light seamlessly. Throughout the record, the band manages to contrast the light and the dark, fitting perfectly with the overall theme of the album. Lyrically, Davies focuses on his father’s illness and the emotional struggles that come with it. In fact, there are more than a few parts throughout the record where Davies opens himself up, the raw emotion in his voice actually becoming quite moving. This is particularly true on the last and best track on the album, ‘Weeping Walls’. As it builds up to the final climax of screaming guitars, sparkling electronics and thundering drums; Davies roars “I’ll tell you all I know, things can always change.”
This single moment is one of the most powerful and awe inspiring things this reviewer has heard, ever. Then, after that huge release of emotion, as if nothing happened it’s gone, the album’s over. However, such is the gravity of that one moment; it stays encapsulated in the listener’s thoughts to be replayed over and over.
Sleep Parade went through a pretty torrid time in the lead up to the release of Things Can Always Change
. It wasn’t even meant to be an album; the band originally intended it to be an EP, but as somewhat of an afterthought, decided to ‘whip up a couple of songs and hit record.’ Ironically, there is not one hint of filler on this album; every track is strong in its own right, something which is becoming a rarity in an overcrowded scene. Combine that with support from the biggest progressive rock band in the world, the only way for Sleep Parade is up.