[6 May 2008]
The members of New Jersey-based Sleep Station achieve a glorious sound on their fourth record by taking the tuneful, semi-conventional folk rock of principal songwriter David Debiak and adorning it with the sounds of musical exploration. More specifically, Debiak and his mates wander through the plentiful fields of alt.country, psychedelic rock and white noise to adopt the same sort of heartland rock-meets-sonic meandering approach that Wilco has embraced to legendary results. Many other bands seek success with the same approach but fall short either in their songwriting or their level of invention; Sleep Station excels at both. Most notably, the band shines on cuts like “Settle on Your Name” which begins fairly typically before ramping up the sound, evolving into a horn-fueled romp. “Fall”, appropriately, has a sweetly autumnal, sepia-toned feel while “Always in the Fire” is a gorgeous and rewarding psychedelic track that harkens back to the best of classic rock. Listeners who fancy themselves well-versed in alt.country, folk rock and related genres owe it to themselves to check this album out; not quite halfway through the year, this is one of the best releases created in that particular style.