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Sleep And Release

Sleep And Release
(Matador Records)

Aereogramme has a hilarious quote on the inside of their new liner notes that states, "this album does not feature members of any bands who are more successful than we are." It may seem a bit snarky or even obvious to some, but it's not for the lack of trying. Rising out of the ashes of the (also criminally underrated) Ganger, Aereogramme is a group that's gotten a lot less ink that somewhat similar bands like Mogwai, but with both their debut album of A Story In White, and now this release, they've cemented themselves as a band who is doing amazingly assured work that swings violently from one extreme to another without sounding forced. Heck, depending on when you dropped the needle on this disc, you might think the group is heavy-metal, orchestral rock, or introspective folk pop.

While not a carbon copy of their debut release, Sleep And Release does hold a lot of things in common with that disc, but manages to do most things better. As mentioned above, they can change their dynamics on a dime (and do!), creating tension with a thundering guitar riff or a swell of strings. The album opens with the delicious "Indiscretion #243," and gets some arm-pumping out of the way from the get-go as the song alternates between blazing, guitar riffing verses and tension-filled choruses while building the moment to let loose again. "Black Past" mixes a low-end heavy rhythm section with what sounds like a full string section and piano. It's another addition in the list of downright touching songs that the group has done, and coming after the louder opening track, it's still stirring enough to not feel like much of a letdown.

"A Simple Process Of Elimination" keeps the quieter sounds going, but this time intersperses programmed beats with echoed acoustic drums, turning the track into a weird sort of slow-burning trip-hop thumper with begging vocals by Craig B. For those wishing they'd drop the strings already, the album cuts loose again during the beginning of "Older," dropping another monster guitar riff coupled with drums that sound like they're mixed with a whip being cracked. After the wild opening, the track calms down into a thick, reverberating number with warm organs before dissolving into feedback and a sound-sample.

Tracks like the beginning of "No Really, Everything's Fine," actually make me wonder just how much more sound a group could cram into one space. breaking off again soon after the spoken sample is over, pummeling drums and attacking bass and guitar all drive forward while at the same time keys are pounded away on a keyboard. Somehow, the group dissolves from that overly saturated moment and peels things back to simple verses without it sounding forced. Although some have dismissed the group as glorified emo, the group has really gone far and beyond such a simple statement. It's true that there are quiet, introspective vocals on most tracks, but the group mixes in metal and orchestral rock and enough tempo and dynamic changes to truly set them apart from what most groups are doing in respective areas. Hopefully, with this release, they become at least a slightly "more successful" band that they joke about in their sleeve.

Rating: 7.75