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Album Of The Month April 2010
Sleeping Village | ‘Fragments’

They describe themselves as a mix of My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Burzum and Type O Negative. That’s the kind of thing that typically comes out of the mouths of people who’ve moved on from metal. People who generally think they’re on a higher level, somehow. Sleeping Village aren’t that. They’re just being honest.

Take a look at the artwork. It’s the kind of thing that brings you back to the way thoughtful underground albums used to look, before they became very nearly extinct. I can’t help recalling stuff like Eterne’s ‘Still Dreaming’ just clocking this class design work.

There could be no doubt that the music inside is excellent. ‘Fragments’ may only be a four track EP, but like so many before them, Sleeping Village use the format to shine. The influences they’ve named pretty much sum it up – but you could freely add some Xasthur into this sound, as well as classic Monumentum as well. More up to date comparisons could perhaps be found with Bloody Panda too.

The droning super-fizzed guitars do indeed recall Type O. Then again, there’s some alignment as well with another great album released this month – Alcest. Both they and Sleeping Village are capable of using soft, dreamlike guitar textures without ever losing the dejection that’s their theme.

The production is raw and dark. Not cheap, but certainly primal. The drums are almost obscured, yet let just enough booming tom through to recall Unholy’s ‘Rapture’. At speed, the Burzum element is there for certain. These Italians however follow their own artistic agenda. They’re no copy cats.

Steeped in the feel of the old underground – could we say that small corner of it that was enchanting – it harks back blissfully to when this stuff was at its prime. Tastefully incorporating keyboards for maximum atmosphere, the long, caustic psychedelic interlude even reminds of the frightening Tiermes. It’s been a long time since anything has.

Italians have a habit of making moody and defiantly underground stuff. It’s because in one sense they’re never afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and on the other because they’re regularly overlooked almost by default. Sleeping Village may well pass you by. Those of you who’ve read between the lines here will know not to let it. This is a heady and essential tonic. Get it now.

4.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 05/04/10

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