CD REVIEW: Stages of Sleep - Couresel
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist/Band: Stages of Sleep
Gypsy Folk, Alternative Rock, Folk Americana
Weakness: Winded Songs, Genera Identity Crisis
San Francisco based “The Stages of Sleep” just released their debut full length release entitled “Carousel” in 2012 . 7 band members include: Jason Ardiles (Vocals, Nylon String Guitar), Brian Wilkerson (Bass), Max Savage (Percussion), Steven Horgan (Drums), Eli Carlton-Pearson (Elect5ric Guitar), Isabel Sokol-Oxman (Violin), Nicholas Hasty (Alto Saxophone, Flute, and Clarinet, Trumpet, Vocals).
The CD kicks off with “Toys” a methodical psychedelic groove painted against emotionally charged vocals, driving worldly rhythms against dynamic musical flow and well placed harmonies and melody. Track 2 “Ipcres” shifts gears a bit with solid low end intro, with alternative string movement coupled with passionate movement leading you head first into Track 3. Track 3 “The Lesson” possesses a slithering musical intro eventually lending itself into a heartfelt Gypsy Folk ballad meshed against infectious Horn Section and catchy melody from Ardiles that flows and ebbs its way through fruition. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 impressive pieces in a row. I would classify this music as Alternative Rock with a College Rock Indie Folkish feel to it that is captivating and entertaining. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of R.E.M. Death Cab for Cutie, Bare Naked Ladies with perhaps a dash of They Might be Giants and Beruit. I willa dd this bands signature sound is quite challenging to pigeonhole. Right from the start you will notice Ardiles and company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice psychedelic, earthy, orchestral feel to it. The guitar playing and singing is rock solid across they dish out mesmerizing writing and lyrical content. Ardiles’ voice goes down smooth and is full of passion, naked vulnerability and recklessness abandon. Also present are sporadic smbient and percussive elements, lush harmonies, impressive guitar and well placed horn section accents. The lyrical content is extremely creative and entertaining. No doubt some of the meanings of these songs is buried deep within the lyrical content. From grooving” Behave” to stroking “A Dagger, A Thorn, and a Splinter” to psychedelic “The Dining Dead” and “Badlands” to Celtic Drift” and Mesmerizing “Dancing on the Leaves” this CD has something for just about everyone.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. CD suffers from a mild case of genera intensity crisis. The overall sound of SOS Is a bit all over the place. I would recommend SOS narrow the fairway a bit with respect to their overall sound.
Carousel is a rock solid statement from SOS. Song for song, note for note its rock solid catalogue of music. It just has a nice earthy feel and has quite a lot to offer the listener. Its strong suit – the song for song Earthy consistency and amazing songwriting prowess of these 7 members.So if you like college alternative rock that dishes out a mesmerizing Alternative rock Gypsy-Folk edge then you should jump into this CD head first.