Things are about to get drowsy.
2012, Frenchkiss Records
4.0 / 10.0
“Come on, kid! / Meet your maker / Go on, go on, back where you belong!” So sings Danny Barria on “Meet Your Maker”, just one song from The Big Sleep’s new album, Nature Experiments that had me rolling my eyes and checking my calendar to be sure that I hadn’t been teleported to 1999. It wasn’t the first bit of nostalgia that The Big Sleep made me experience while listening to their latest album. Track one, the cleverly titled “#1” (just kidding, it’s not clever), has drumming reminiscent of Blink 182’s Travis Barker, so I was immediately instilled with fond memories of late high school/early college when I thought Blink 182 was a great band. But hey, I was young.
The Big Sleep consists of core members Barria (guitarist/vocalist) and Sonya Balchandani (bassist/vocalist), and they’re best known for ripping in the noise rock genre. On Nature Experiments, the duo chooses to push their vocals to the forefront (what’s that I said about “melody over mayhem”?), and unfortunately, the result is a dull, vapid album that convinced me The Big Sleep picked the perfect name for their group. Balchandani’s vocals are particularly problematic, delivered in a monotone, sleepy drawl that even vocal effects can’t inject with oomph.
Musically Nature Experiments is fairly solid – Barria’s guitar work stands out on “Four Wishes” – but any momentum is killed by the lackluster singing. However, the singing isn’t always the problem. The Big Sleep push for huge climaxes, but they cripple the songs before getting there as in “Ghosts In Bodies” with its monotonous drone. Many of the songs build to the exciting parts without being exciting beforehand. One exception is “Red Carpet” that beats with a pulse throughout. I guess you can’t fault The Big Sleep for trying something new with this release. I just wish it wasn’t as drowsy as their name suggests.