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Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag

(Joyful Noise; US: 9 Aug 2011; UK: import)

Sleeping Bag deals in the kind of lean indie rock that might seem all too familiar at first. You’re likely to drop names like Pavement as you talk about it with your friends. The songs that make up their self-titled release, though, are melodic and often striking, catchy enough to distinguish themselves from the anonymous umbrella of ‘90s rock. The subtle harmonies in the chorus of “Slime”, the overcast sway of “Acer”, the jangling garage rock of “Desker” are all built on tropes we’ve heard before, but delivered with a singular charm. In just a half an hour, the band jumps to a number of different rock sounds and keeps your attention with tight hooks and by couching tight rock songs in a confessional hush. They do sometimes lean a bit too hard on the slacker vibe, so that the vocals can feel more monotone than muted, more lazy than laid back. That aside, Sleeping Bag is an impressive set, solid enough to let you know these guys can make some great rock songs, distinctive enough so they don’t get lost in the crowded indie rock ghetto.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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