Sleep For Sleepers
To say California three-piece Sleep for Sleepers may have been listening to a bit of Copeland before they recorded The Clearing may seem like an understatement when you give this record its first listen.
It would be easy to confuse many of the songs on this album for ‘In Motion’-era Copeland, but lucky for Sleep for Sleepers there are far worse bands to try and emulate.
Indeed it seems that Sleep for Sleepers may have managed to overcome some of the things that stopped ‘In Motion’ from being a great record. Bravery starts the album off on a rocking note, and this is followed by sure-fire single Thievery and Bones, a song that is almost annoyingly catchy. While I don’t want to make this a review of Copeland, I feel it prudent to add here that I was already comparing it to them by this point, and it was stacking up in favour of Sleep for Sleepers. The strengths of these opening two songs lie in their immediacy, and also the fact that they do things that you wouldn’t expect them to when you hear them for the first time.
The Clearing is a highly elegant album, it is so highly polished it almost cuts your ears with its sharpness. The song-writing is tight and stylish, and it is quite clear that Sleep for Sleepers have their collective fingers on the pulse when it comes to writing a pop song. Moving away from the so-obvious-it’s-almost-redundant comparison to Copeland, this band blends the pop-sensibilities of JamisonParker with the catchiness of Sherwood. The track The Sea could sneak it’s way on to a Mae CD and not feel out of place, it seems Sleep for Sleepers know how to pick their influences and have placed themselves firmly in the genre they want to be in.
Yet the album also has its stuttering moments and, more often than not, it’s when the band tries to slow things down that it falters. Songs like The Harbor and Love is for the Foolish seem to disrupt the flow of the album and within the song there is an almost audible clunking as the album painfully tries to shift down in gears. While the album is not original, it is damn good at what it does well, showcased on tracks like Twilight.
This is also a very Christian album, with some overt lyrical references to the band members’ faith. While this may increase their appeal in some markets, it also serves to alienate other, less religious fans.
That being said, The Clearing is a highly professional record with some stand-out moments. There are songs on this record that will stay in your head for days and it is worth seeking out and giving a listen. If bands like Copeland and Mae are your cup of tea, this will also be a suitable hot beverage for your consumption; just don’t expect a taste sensation.