|Sleep And Release ~ CD Ref: CHEM069 CD|
Glasgow trio Aereogramme's 2001 debut, A Story In White was an intelligent, brutal slab of rock, where the guitars were heavier and the light at the end of the tunnel was probably a train coming the other way. The weight, however, was tempered by a streak of melodicism; this time round, they've refined the formula.
Opener 'Indiscretion #243' starts off as a tribute to The Pixies, before sprouting hammond organ wings and the plaintive cello on 'Black Path' sounds like a full orchestra come the chorus. Here and there - on 'Yes' and on the howling 'Wood' - they're as inventive as one of the great lost bands of the 90's, The God Machine, combining almost unbearable noise with melody and passages of complex experimentation. This is an album that contains multitudes, and you're missing out if you don't dive in.
The cover artwork adorning Aereogramme's follow up to 2001's 'A Story In White' depicts a frail woman gently offering a rusty circular saw. It is an accurate visual description of their penchant for dropping coruscating noise in among a mollifying cinematic sound. If the foursome were to compose a film score, it would almost certainly be a grainy David 'Se7en' Fincher flick featuring a manic-depressive living in a crumbling tower block with only a box of rusty, sharp objects for company.
The lilting, multi-layered sound of 'Black Path' purposefully jars with 'Older', a digital landscape of radio static, math-metal and blood-curdling screams. The beauty in Aereogramme's music is their confounding, bold use of understated, beautiful melodies and fusing them with the kind of sounds a social worker would be compelled to report. Brilliant. [KKKK]
Aereogramme rock in a charming, if unconventional way. Not an original thought perhaps, but despite it being all about execution over ideas these days, Aereogramme (don't be tempted to call them the 'Gramme, that would be very sad indeed) can cut it.
They have been successfully tearing heads off with their dynamic loud/quiet, hard/soft, funny/peculiar approach for some time now and this, their second full album, takes a step away from fields cluttered with skull-less cadavers into altogether more expansive territory. Tiny voices plead, guitars growl and purr in all the unexpected places and strings swoon throughout ten complex, bordering-on-convoluted tracks. Ever want to hear the Black Sabbath Mahler Delgados? Haunting. [5/5]
LOGO Album Of The Month
It's too early to speak of a career renaissance, this is, after all, only Aereogramme's second album, but 'Sleep And Release' signals a return to first principles, a return to the kind of uncompromising outlook that makes music vital, that makes music so much a part of life that, truly, you couldn't live without it.
every track - no, every second - presented here is bold and expansive, drawing on the principles of ambience, tension, grace and vitriol, sometimes individually, sometimes running into each other within the space of a heartbeat. Tradition dictates that a highlight is selected; to do so would be like snipping three bars out of Mozart's 'Requiem', nevertheless, highlights are required. Take One: 'Older' is embellished with the pastoral, floating textures of indie lightweights Buffseeds, motoring through heavily textured, shifting time-signatures before descending, sporadically, into the deep waters of aching loss and naked, unhinged vitriol that Biffy Clyro have made their own. Take Two: 'Older' segues into 'No Really, Everything's Fine'; moving through the incoherent babbling of sampled voices that sound like they're reacting to an emergency in Apollo 13, everything comes to a full stop, waits half a breath then lunges into a goth-prog guitar line enlivened by a drum kit that, for once, really does sound like it's being played by a jazz drummer while it tumbles down the stairs. Take Three: the single most striking moment in an album that is, literally, full of striking moments comes in the shape of a genuinely devastating message that was left on drummer Martin Scott's answer-phone in the last week of recording. The familiar prickling behind the eyes that you will undoubtedly experience is the only possible reaction to moment in time that, hopefully, the caller found a way through.
really though, there's nothing new going on here, you have heard all this before, just never in the same place. However, 'Sleep And Release' is one of the most impressively coherent albums to have emerged this millenium. The secret is the constant feeling that some hard lessons have been learned, and this is an exercise in catharsis; it shouldn't be an easy ride, yet it is; an epic, complex sprawl of naked emotion that surges, rests, surges again, rails against normality, demands your attention. It's no spoilt child though, it's as though Aereogramme are showing you the scraped knuckles, half-healed bruises and misshapen features of a life spent battling to stay upright; lessons learned the hard way, lessons that are best learned through the trials of others. As an exercise in public spirit it would be laudable enough; as an exercise in creating exceptional music it's in a field of one. [4.5/5]
Second album from Glasgow's best beards.
When the careers advisor asked an adolescent Aereogramme what kind of band they wanted to be when they grew up, the four of them must have replied with little more than a distant shrug of the shoulders. To this day, the element of indecision remains, and it is entirely to their credit, because their excellent second album 'Sleep And Release' blends moments of metallic catharsis like 'Wood' with the grand orchestral splendour of 'In Gratitude' and doesn't once stop to think of the consequences.
It's a disorientating listen alright - and singer Craig B's blood-on-the-tracks lyrical slant certainly does not make for an emotional picnic, either - but the best music never gives you an easy ride. [8/10]
Rock Sound - Featured Album
There was a time when Craig B - vocalist and guitarist with Aereogramme - apologised for his despondency and lack of communication. He blamed it on the fact he was tired and angry. Understanding his well-being goes a long way to appreciating the Glaswegian quartet's second release. 'Sleep And Release' is the journey into this young man and his cohorts' inner darkest thoughts, paranoias, anxieties and hatred. According to Craig, sleep and release are the two states of being that he needs and enjoys the most - when asleep he doesn't have to think anymore; while 'release' refers to the band and the sheer joy of playing music. "When I'm in these two states I can't fuck anyone off or notice death in everything I see, or concentrate on how fucking selfish humans are on a day-today basis. There is nothing but silence or our own created sound." Consequently, it's an album that touches nerves and sends shivers down your spine with its sublimity. 01's debut 'A Story In White' took a plunge into the world of dark and light, quiet and loud, and also dealt with Craig's loathing of the world, even featuring a song simply entitled 'Hatred'. While it was a monumental album, receiving the AOTM accolade in these pages, it could never prepare us for what Aereogramme have conjured up with 'Sleep And Release'.
This album simply towers overs its predecessor and illustrates a band pushing back limits, testing its own patience and the ability to remain intact through the monstrous rollercoaster that it is. "Erase us, erase this world," declares Craig on 'A Simple Process Of Elimination' as an answer to everyone's problems, which ends with a sample of a haunting distress call left one night on bassist Campbell McNeil's answer machine. 'No Really, Everything's Fine' sees craig's angelic voice grapple with a jarring rhythm section surging forward with controlled ferocity, 'Black Path' is a surprisingly upbeat song with an almost festive spirit flowing through it, while opener 'Indiscretion #243', from a commercial point of view, could easily find itself being a single. 'Wood' is upbeat and quirky before it veers off into a spazz of swirling prog rock guitars not heard since your dad's Emerson, Lake And Palmer records, and ends in a fit of rage in true Speedhorn fashion; and the untitled closer is a massive journey towards the end of the world, driven by a Celtic overtone. Despite the negativity, 'Sleep And Release' isn't without a brave feel of optimism and rays of Scottish sunshine, which saves it from being an album that sends you over the edge of mental stability. And that is one of the key ingredients of its success - best exemplified on 'In Gratitude'. Unafraid to blend beautiful orchestrations and glistening charm with Converge-esque chunks of noise, 'Sleep And Release' is gearing up to be one of the coolest albums to be released this year. Aereogramme will not be understood by everyone and 'Sleep And Release' is a challenging album, especially in a consumerist world of throwaway pop iconography. Chad Kroeger may have shown the world that beards in rock can have terrible consequences, but right now there is hope that Aereogramme can rectify the situation. [9/10]
Aereogramme are amongst the elite of British bands. Their debut album, 'A Story In White', was an affecting storm of emotions, and this improved follow-up is conclusive proof of their profound ability to entangle noise and melody with beauty and depth. 'Indiscretion', however, is an unlikely (if brilliant) start to proceedings - for the first time it becomes clear that the Scots could crossover. The riffs are all Weezer-like, and perhaps it's a sign the band are prepared to be obvious once in a while if it garners the attention they richly deserve. It's not a theme that's contined, though, and the remainder of 'Sleep And Release' is dominated by subtlety. Orchestral movements emphasise the grace inherent in all that Aereogramme do, and there's less squalor here than you might imagine. In fact, you're most often reminded of Tom McRae - which seems strange when you consider there remains an inclination for prog-rock. But the mixture of influences is perfect - the Led Zeppelin-esque 'Older' is complimented by hardcore and its moody cool, the breathless and rampaging 'Yes' is also soft, and there's a tendency to sound fresh ("thinking of ways to evolve") that's so appealing. Like Biffy Clyro, Aereogramme have ambitions that would scare your average band to death. [4/5]