Review Summary: It's in the little moments.
There’s a moment 2:01 into “Someone To Stay” – this wholly uplifting, Arcade Fire-esque chorus – that takes the pivoting Revival
and rockets it into the stratosphere. It’s difficult to justify how a simple but well-placed whoa-oh-oh
could have such a genuinely decisive impact upon an album, but it’s one of those things you just need to hear in its precise context in order to appreciate. That’s sort of the nature of Vancouver Sleep Clinic, this one-man peddled project that immerses itself in ambient-folk leanings while adding just enough wrinkles to keep listeners from ever diagnosing it as a Bon Iver clone. Tim Bettinson’s falsetto vocals will undoubtedly draw both praise and criticism for his eerily similar approach to that of Justin Vernon, but it’s really no worse than the S. Carey’s of the world who still manage to produce critically acclaimed works. Vancouver Sleep Clinic is like a poppier and more eclectic version of these artists, which possesses its obvious drawbacks, but more often than not delivers melodic hooks over haunting backdrops that are worthy of mass consumption.
As I mentioned before though, Revival
is all about the fleeting moments that carry more weight than the actual whole. It’s sort of the opposite of the greater than the sum of its parts
cliché, as Revival
has some long stretches that drag and there’s no overarching themes to tie everything together. The rewards come sporadically, like when Bettinson launches into the beautiful and profound double chorus on ‘Living Water’, professing “you're melding me inside, and now…I finally feel alive.” It’s when he unexpectedly drops a dubstep beat between melodic verses on ‘Letting Go’, or nearly goes post-rock on the all-instrumental, eponymous outro. In a way Revival
feels like a piecemeal effort, comprised of unique chain links that somehow work together. Some listeners will call it unfocused, and while they wouldn’t be wrong, it is less of an indecisive “crossroads” and more of an eager exploration. Revival
isn’t Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s magnum opus, but it does see the outfit load up its palette with an array of shimmering assets.