I missed seeing The Big Sleep when they were opening for Minus The Bear in early 2008, but for some reason I'm not really regretting it, because I feel like their live show would probably play out very similarly to how their second album, Sleep Forever does. A few opening tracks of shreddage, followed by quiter stuff, and ending not with a bang as much as an "eh."
I don't really know what it is about this album, but it just doesn't even seem like the band is totally interested in what they're doing. Most of the songs here are instrumental, which means it might fall under the blanket term of "post-rock." At the same time though, some of these instrumentals probably would have benefited from vocals. My other main gripe is kind of weird, and it's the lugubrious tempo that every song seems to follow. The band obviously has some great guitar tones, so why do they find it necessary to just plod through every song? I could see them sounding a bit more Fucking Am-ish if they sped things up a little bit, but dirty enough to retain their own sound.
The two previously mentioned problems I have with this album make it a pretty fucking frustrating listen, and at times, the band's name and album title almost come too close for comfort when it comes to stuff I'm listening to.
For a band that makes most of their songs instrumental, it's almost funny that the most memorable moments of this album come from the songs that feature vocals. It's not even that the vocals are that spectacular, it's just that the band actually seems like they give a shit at these moments. Take "Bad Blood." There are riffs for days in this song, and although the vocals make it a little hard to focus on the guitars, it's good to at least see The Big Sleep a little more invigorated.
But for every good song like that, there's one like "Organs," which seems like nothing more that studio tomfoolery gone wild. Like, "oh hey, here's this organ..woah that sounds kind of cool. Let's record an entire track based around like one or two riffs on this thing. Shit!" It's just filler, that's all.
Usually I can forgive a band if they at least seem like they're giving it their all (see my Sinaloa review), but I just can't get behind a group who seems almost, well, asleep during their album.