In The Red
SLEEPING BEAUTIES - s/t LP
Spawned in the same creepy corner of the Pacific Northwest, from the remains of the fantastically under-appreciated The Hunches, Eat Skull and The Hospitals, are the Sleeping Beauties. Big basement rock opens up “Bobby and Suzie” with its gluey, flypaper tempo changes bringing to mind Alex Chilton’s “Like Flies on Sherbert” and the Electric Eels mashed into a ball. Rhythm piano played with an icepick is next on “Meth” and though it may be a tale of warning, the track adds allure to having “got a weekend sack and it’s Saturday / Sunday my life is crumbling.” Under the moss-covered tremolo glam of “Wheeler” is a map to one of the catchiest choruses of the record. The smell of bleach in the bathroom leads to “Potter’s Daughter” with an invitation to relax and go “swimming in tampons” but in the last minute Rod Meyer’s and Rob Enbom’s scraping guitars peel back the skull again. Sounding poppy, primal and carsick at once, drug mules and biblical references tiptoe sweetly onto the bus on “Merchants of Glue.” The windows steam up in the Rocket from the Tombs-eque “Slumber Party” as the garbage boogie slides into an early Butthole-Surfers-like stream of unconsciousness. “Hands Across America” continues to showcase singer Hart Gledhill as one of the most distressing throats since Captain Beefheart while competing with guitar solos louder than Teengenerate. These burns are soothed on “Southie,” evoking some kind of 13th Floor Elevators groove followed by the sad, warped, almost country-tinged “Addicted to Drugs.” This respite is short lived, however; the terrific push-pull / future-primitive rhythm section kicks in on “50’s Haircut / Gold Shoes.” After a while, the gutter puzzles start to make sense, like a schizophrenic does if you actually sit down and listen. When the last sands gently, mercifully slide through the hourglass on “South Eugene,” it’s over too soon. It is exciting to see a new band in 2016 sing about their unique pain and pleasure, not hidden by delay pedals and not seeming to care if you like it or not. This record probably makes you smarter for listening to it, and the only problem is it erases your mind as well.