The Big Sleep
It starts with a crackle, and then an explosion. Of bright bursts, of thundering riffs, of confidence and questioning, all rolling along over relentless nighttime beats. Following a tireless tour cycle behind 2008’s Sleep Forever LP, The Big Sleep laid low for a spell, which turned out to be a couple of years. According to guitarist/vocalist Danny Barria, “I wasn’t feeling rushed or pressured. I j ust wanted to write good songs.”
Which brings us to the hefty hooks and sugar-spun noise pop of Nature Experiments, the full-length Danny and bassist/vocalist Sonya Balchandani have hinted at since 2000. That'd be the year the duo started cutting demos in the former's Brooklyn kitchen; demos that eventually shifted from a loose shoegaze sound (the You Today, Me Tomorrow EP) to the iridescent instrumentals and groove-locked guitar anthems of The Big Sleep's debut album, 2006's Son of the Tiger.
As promising as that LP was, it's nowhere near as focused and forceful as the tractor beam tracks the pair started recording in 2011. Helped in part by a more collaborative creative process, Nature Experiments busts at the seams with restless rhythms and choppy power chords ("Ace"), venomous vocals and blown-out beats ("Meet Your Maker"), and effects pedals/synth pads that rub and ring out against some of the band's most climatic choruses yet ("Valentine," "Ghosts In Bodies," "Ladders"). And if you need a breather, there's always the psych-steeped balladry of "1001" and "Wood on the Water."
"The guiding principle this time around was to take our time and do whatever we needed to," says Danny. "We’d work on things separately and then meet in each other’s living rooms with just an acoustic guitar and a keyboard, which is funny considering that’s exactly how the band started.”
The Brooklyn based quintet had a busy Spring opening for bands like Cloud Nothings and Howler. The songs are absolutely pop at heart, with endearing hooks and jangly guitars, but there’s an edge that makes them emanate a New York kind of cool. The music is by no means a daunting or pretentious hipness, the tunes are astoundingly accessible with vintage elements from yesteryear; citing The Smiths and ‘50s girl groups as influences while pulling in modern peers such as Deerhunter into the mix. Download their latest EP, Easy Tiger, for free on their bandcamp site.
Life Size Maps
"A darker, paranoid underbelly haunts Magnifier from the very moment it opens with a tense hissing static...Filled with intricate instrumental flourishes, every song on Magnifier feels at the cusp of bursting at the seams"
- Jonny Leather (Mecca Lecca Recording Co.)