Sleeping People – Growing

The sophomore album from Sleeping People, Growing, belies the band’s name. The music is anything but soporific. Instead, the tight, math-based instrumentals twist and swoop from change to change, breaking periodically to rock out.

If you don’t like math rock or you get bored when you hear music without lyrics, this album probably won’t do much for you. Music like this often appeals most to musicians and music fans who like hearing what comes out when you put a few talented players in a room and let them jam. Everything feels precise, taut, and thought-out. It’s really prog-rock for the indie set, Yes without the falsetto.

On “Yellow Guy / Pink Eye,” you get some pretty fancy drum work, and it’s a pretty consistent and coherent song. This song is followed by the sprawling 9-minute “Mouth Breeder,” which by contrast takes you all over the map: slow & quiet, fast & loud, dramatic at times. “…Out Dream” and “Centipede’s Dream” get almost ambient in their repetitive guitar or keyboard lines, uncluttered with much percussion. “Underland” consists entirely of dark atmospherics and cymbal washes and “It’s Heart Loves Open” similarly dispenses with the rock idiom and just floats along sinisterly like something from The Residents.

On the tracks with guitar, you get the feeling that it’s the instrument driving the songwriting. The rhythm section follows the sinuous picking, no matter the time signature, but it’s the deft 6-string playing that leads the way. It’s not quite Orthrelm, though, but it is well done. On tour this fall, the band will probably win over some fans who come to see headliners The Locust – most probably the fans who show up for the spectacle of the playing more than the visceral catharsis.