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Sleeping In The Aviary
Great Vacation
Science Of Sound
www.sleepingintheaviary.com


Ok, I'm going to try to be as objective as possible in reviewing Sleeping In The Aviary's new album Great Vacation, but it might prove difficult considering I've fallen in love with this band. Like many talented artists, Sleeping In The Aviary is not easily classified. They themselves describe the new album as "a tropical mouth gargling high octane easy listening blast of reggae to the mindhole." If that's hard to swallow, just think Dr. Dog meets Of Montreal meets Stars. Meets lots of other stuff, too.

Great Vacation showcases a bevy of styles and utilizes plenty of nontraditional instruments from ukuleles to trumpets and some kind of weird twangy thing (which I have no idea what its name is). I would venture to say their dedication to the sound of each song is what makes them so interesting. Without the constraints of guitars-bass-drum, they can be more experimental. And boy howdy, does it pay off! They go from blues ballad to retro beach pop without missing a beat.

Highlights off the album include tracks 1-11. But for realz, I loved the tropical "Weightlessly In Love", the beautiful, bluesy "Last Kiss On A Sinking Ship", and the magical "I Want You Back (I Want You Dead)" which has both falsetto vocals and a drum machine breakdown. Win. "Axes Ground Looth Tooth" sounds like a mix of Stars and Arcade Fire. Meanwhile, "The Very Next Day I Died" has a repeating structure like a sing-a-long nursery rhyme, yet with philosophical and sociological underpinnings.

What I find so charming about Aviary is their sense of humor (see website) mixed with a bittersweet poetic quality. For example, "Last Kiss On A Sinking Ship" is a love song with a twist of tragedy. Likewise, "Maria's Ghost" starts out "Me I held Maria while she struggled on the bed / she forgot the safety word / now she's dead." Based on this kind of witty irony, one of the strongest comparisons I can make is to Islands. Silliness aside, their musical ability speaks for itself.

In sum, Sleeping In The Aviary's Great Vacation will leave you wondering "Why haven't I heard of this band before?" Good news, they're touring early 2011, so get on it.

-Kelsey Rodgers

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