I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect on first listen to Des Moines band The Sleepover’s debut LP, “No Sleep.” Two-thirds of The Sleepover is comprised of members of the thrash metal band Dark Mirror, and while you can hear slight similarities to some of the driving sound bassist Marco Battaglia and drummer Clint Blomker bring to that band, it’s singer/guitarist Emery Brown’s lo-fi punk stylings that form the backbone of The Sleepover’s sound.
For the most part, the songs are fast, short and enjoyable. There are moments where things linger just a bit too long. “Dance Devil Dance” and “Glow,” the album’s two longest songs, could use a bit of tightening, while the closing track, “Bodies,” finds the right balance of length and intensity.
There’s nothing groundbreaking about “No Sleep,” but the songs show a lot of promise, which The Sleepover’s live shows deliver on. The tracks are catchy and quirky, with solid instrumentation. It’s a good start, like when the pizza arrives at a middle school sleepover. Now jump to the 2 a.m. Mario Kart races when everyone is on their third two-liter of Mountain Dew. That’s when real memories are made. ♦
It’s been eight years since Brand New released its last album, “Daisy.” Late last month, the New York group surprised fans with its fifth album, “Science Fiction,” picking up its experimental rock sound right where the quartet left off in 2009.
The opening track, “Lit Me Up,” starts with a recording of a patient recounting a dream, setting a surreal, unsettling tone for what follows. Tracks like “Desert,” “Waste” and “137” paint a picture of a world that seems to be ending, not from reasons that sound like science fiction, but from isolation, hatred and nuclear proliferation. After the summer we’ve had, it feels all too real.
“Science Fiction” is a haunting album that plays to Brand New’s strengths with dark songs that harken back to a time when “emo” referred to lyrical content rather than hairstyles. Hopefully the next album won’t take quite as long. ♦