Wednesday, January 27, 2010

27. Sleep Well – Electric President (2008)

(Taken from SCQ’s Top Twenty Albums of 2008:)

With all the caution I exercised to avoid overinflating album reviews this year, I can’t help but marvel that my #1 Album of 2008, Sleep Well, is also the highest graded album of the year. A fluke, perhaps, although I recall knowing within the first few listens that Sleep Well was unlike any record I’d heard before. There were resemblances of OK Computer-era Radiohead (‘All the Bones’), the odd Beach Boys’ harmony (‘It’s An Ugly Life’), and Kranky-caliber instrumentals (‘It’s Like a Heartbeat, Only It Isn’t’), yet these twelve tracks bound together represented something far smarter and scarier than those brief sonic affiliations.

Crafted over thirteen months in Cooper’s backyard shed (unbelievably), Sleep Well is a perfect album, comprised of multi-tempered pop-odysseys and unpredictable chills that are too catchy and symphonic to ignore. Their synths flourish and dissipate like morning fog, Ben Cooper’s voice flexes between gruff, whispered or angelic as if possessed by several nocturnal mouths; Sleep Well documents a young band surpassing their own intentions, crafting a nighttime record that makes every daylight hour seem somehow wasteful. Beyond a doubt the year’s most underrated recording.

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