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Album Review: Sleepmakeswaves – ‘Made of Breath Only’


Album Review: Sleepmakeswaves – ‘Made of Breath Only’

Review: Craig Grant – Sleepmakeswaves is a band that I first came across in 2008-ish when they banged out 2 EPs in quick succession. Often referred to enigmatically as ‘post-rockers’, but the reality is that this Sydney four piece is an instrumental rock band, more atmospheric than progressive. It was the, ‘Love of Cartography’, album in 2014 that introduced the band to the Australian mainstream and a number of tours ensued. The tour with The Contortionist and the superb Monuments in 2016 led to Sleepmakeswaves releasing a number of tracks as they travelled and you could hear the band growing and refining its sound.

Early February 2017 and we hear on the cool-kids radio station the first release from the album, ‘Made of Breath Only’, and it is a more polished and honed collection than what we have heard before. The good news is that the album is released on March 24th and it takes off from, ‘Love of Cartography’, left us.

Made of Breath Only’, is sensational. We kick off with Our Days were Polar and it’s a brief opening, with a slow start and lifting at its end, ninety seconds later, with an electronic beat. We slip into Worlds Away which is both uplifting and intense. The riff in the middle carries us through to a lull that bubbles the track along. Soft and gentle we pass through the seven minutes with the melody so low that you have to blot out the world to hear it. The track then erupts with chaotic guitar until it’s all fade again and when slip into the third track, To Light and Return. There is a groove to this track, the first so far. There’s a feel of Eric Johnson, or many Erics as these tracks are layer upon layer. This music is a soundtrack to the images created in your mind. It is enigmatic and difficult to define but it seems to morph on every listen while still managing to keep you guessing.

The single Tundra is perhaps a snapshot of the entire album with rising and falling guitars, the hint of electronica and the sweeps replaced with lulls, then lifts. There is a swirl of electronic waves that bounces around the headphones with this one. It’s not a dance around the room track but it’s a track that demands your full attention. Pick of the album is one of two possibles. The title track is largely a pondering a piano track that mid-way through is given an upbeat acoustic drum backdrop that seems to Doppler into the distance. It is unsettling and jarring against what is a very relaxing piano lead. The last track Hailstones is a shoegazer of a track and will suit those that go to gigs and tap their feet together as they bob their head along to the vibe. It is reverbed and fuzzed out as the album slinks to a close, a varied and ever-questioning ride.

This is an easy album to like for the fans of instrumental rock or the dreaded instrumental prog. It also has an ambience that suits those moments alone or when other types of music may be intrusive. Sharing this music with others could be a challenge, as the album is so personal, but we will find out as Sleepmakeswaves are touring extensively in Australia and Asia.

This album is well worth your attention whether you are a fan of the genre or want to be challenged. This band have taken this to such a level now that this might be the genre, so get on board and give, ‘Made of Breath Only’, a listen.

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