This time around, SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM incorporate even more lullaby songwriting contrasted by harsh, distorted rock. For those unfamiliar with SGM, they are at the forefront of avant-rock progressiveness. In concert, their appearance is similar to black metal band members who became Puritans wearing overalls. Their creativity knows no bounds, and they aren’t afraid to go against the grain in a musical world run primarily by corporations. This new release In Glorious Times is the band’s fourth studio effort, and it sounds more like a bizarre soundtrack or rock opera than it does your typical music release. Aside from the usual oddities of electric violins and whispered male and female vocals, this band has created a plethora of homemade instruments to supplement their already eclectic sound that includes strong influences from indie rock acts, Irish folk, and a variety of metal among others.
The very first track, “The Companions,” starts off the album with an extraordinarily creepy mood and lyrics that reference a paranoia about the desperate people of the world in our glorious times killing everyone with knives when asked to leave. The next and perhaps most interesting song, “Helpless Corpses Enactment,” uses passages from James Joyce’s final novel Finnegan’s Wake to comprise all of the lyrics. It is also by far the most vicious and heaviest track on the album. However, many aspects of this particular release are a bit closer to the indie rock influences. The tracks “Puppet Show,” “Formicary,” “Angle of Repose,” and “The Only Dance” are more straightforward pieces of strange melody that could appeal to those not mired in the underground scene. Overall, female vocalist Carla Kihlstedt steals the show with her performance on most of the tracks, but Nils Frykdahl is worth mentioning for his vocal performance in the aforementioned “The Companions” and “Helpless Corpses Enactment” as well as “The Greenless Wreath.”
While In Glorious Times is not quite as heavy as the prior release Grand Opening and Closing, anyone with an interest in this disturbed yet calming songwriting approach should not pass up this intellectual treat from SGM. (The End Records)