If there's one thing we can all agree on in these dark, deeply uncertain days, it's humanity's latent desire to unplug from it all—to put our smartphones down, survey our immediate surroundings, and let the sweeter things in life rise to the surface.
Sleepy Sun get it. Now five albums and more than a decade into making their own elusive brand of bold rock music, the Bay Area band isn't interested in flooding our synapses with far too many ideas on their new LP, Private Tales. They'd rather let a grander vision unfold over time, rewarding anyone with the willingness to wait it out, to actually listen.
"When I hear Private Tales," says guitarist Evan Reiss, "I appreciate the spaciousness that is left for the listener. I like music that gives them an opportunity to breathe, as opposed to jamming ideas into someone’s ears at all times."
That approach is clear from the very beginning, a sustained drone casting a spell of clean synth tones, monk-like melodies, muted flutes, and riffs that ring out in the distance. It's as if Sleepy Sun's core quartet (Reiss, fellow guitarist Matt Holliman, frontman Bret Constantino, and drummer Brian Tice) decided to apply the album's brakes before they even got out of the driveway.
If only things were that simple. The glassy psych grooves of "Prodigal Vampire" eventually give way to the life aquatic licks of "Seaquest," a song that actually sounds like it's sailing straight towards the sun. Meanwhile, "When the Morning Comes" and "Crave" take the group down an entirely different path—one that's lined with thorny hooks and chaotic thunderclaps, as influenced by Swans as it is by Thin Lizzy.
Confused yet? Good.
"I always, always loved how no one knew what to make of us," says Tice.
"That means we're doing our job!" adds Reiss.