This album sample is mixed quietly, which actually is a detriment to what is already a quiet band. Neon Sleep is an emotive rock band in the style of Ani DiFranco and Sloan, albeit with more electricity crackling through the tracks than either of them. Opening up the disc with “The Lights In This Town Are Faded”, Neon Sleep miffs a little bit by allowing some of the background noises take center stage (for example, the train’s normal squeaking as it stops). Rob’s construction of eir Neon Sleep alias is done much better than any of the other all-in-one artists (like Steve Lieberman) who have crossed my desk in the last few months. With tracks like “To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything”, Neon Sleep can exist and not be burdened by an over-bearing creator who tries to force instruments and matters into too small of a space. These songs are written much more in a way that would indicate an entire band working together and fitting together lines and beats into a coherent sound. Another impressive feat accomplished by Rob is the multi-part harmonies that ey makes with eirself throughout tracks like “Apres Moi Le Deluge”; instead of just cloning the sections ey wishes to duplicate, Rob sounds as if ey actually recorded the sections over and over, making for a more realistic experience.
Moving back and forth through the wide open spaces of an electronic wasteland and the small coffee-shop sound of an acoustic (Stare, A Time To Think, Time To Ponder), Neon Sleep make a strong statement with their music. Even though there is one voice throughout the disc, all Rob needs to do is strap on an acoustic guitar and an entire crowd comes into existence. Everything on “Endormi et Rever” is Spartan, the musical equivalent of walking along through a deserted city. The only lifeforce present is the beat of Rob’s music, the voice, the piano, and a listener will immediately endear themselves to Neon Sleep instead of the cold, heartless emptiness.
Neon Sleep comes through with enough different permutations that it is nigh-impossible to become bored with the music on “Endormi et Rever”. By being in control of every facet of the creative process, Rob has made the possibility of error, of cliché, of anything worse than the best essentially nil. If Rob would turn down the ambient noise (Lights, Settle This Mess), the disc would even be more impressive than it is now.
Settle this Mess, To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything
Neon Sleep – Endormi et Rever / 2005 Grassington Records / 11 Tracks / http://www.neonsleep.co.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 26 January 2005