The Big Sleep

A rising feedback howl welcomes in punchy drums before bass comes in and guitar switches to riffing, flipping to Led Zep mode in the musical interactions. It's instrumental blues-rock, having it old school style. You just know this band has a greater than average amount of hair. The Big Sleep are a trio, augmented here and there, but mostly just bass, drums and guitar. They focus on turning driving little ditties into jammed out mini-epics.

Most of this album, their debut, is instrumental. There's the odd bit of lyric but nothing significant, since this band began as a duo intent on making music without it having to be a vehicle for lyrics, being a thing in itself. The original two have gone through a few drummers but this one fits right here, sounding all loose-limbed but punchy. Tunes / songs have a sweep that speaks of a deliberate effort to work up a grandeur. Themes rise and build to a climax then are drawn down to a steady, quieter tempo before collapsing or maybe rising again. It's sometimes cathartic, sometimes bone-crushing. In essence, this is psych-rock - big on interplay and jamming, watching the spaces between, stepping up to the plate when the time is right. Bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor would provide a clue as to where these are going but The Big Sleep are less symphonic, more in thrall to big riffers like Led Zep. There is a clarity to three-pieces. No messing about, each instrument is essential and, here, the distinctive sound you'll take away is chiming or feedbacking guitar over a back-beat drum with keys or bass colouring in. A breath of fresh air.

Ross McGibbon