Sleep Bellum Sonno

Judge Us By How We Lived Our Lives, Not By How We Made Our Living

Written by: TL on 28/12/2009 17:47:46

Attention fellow writers: Next time a promo thread is opened, and my selections seem to indicate a line of thought that goes like this "okay so that one says indie rock, indie is slightly familiar territory, hence that will be easy to review with a minimal amount of effort!" - Tell me to give that a second thought, please! It's that kind of thinking that puts me in my current situation, between back to back spins of Sleep Bellum Sonno's second (right?) album "Judge Us By How We Lived Our Lives, Not By How We Made Our Living", trying my hardest to absorb a thoroughly alien soundscape as fast as I can, because other promos are waiting to be reviewed before new years eve.

On the band's myspace, a fellow called Scott Landis, is quoted for having called this band "The complete abandonment of the restraints of a genre" and while I'm not entirely on board with that description, it certainly is a good place to start ones comprehension of what they are about. The truth, as I see it, is that Sleep Bellum Sonno are another freakish incarnation of the East Coast indie-core underground sound. A niche that sounds like it has successfully separated itself completely from everything you can find in the mainstream. Instrumentally, it's like a symphony of sounds from the cellars of the city. Vocally, this particular band is like a duet between odd spoken-word-ish rambling alá mewithoutYou, and strangely unfitting yells alá Only Thunder. There are horns (think Battle Creek) and there are weird time signatures (Rapid Cities maybe?) and if you're expecting to find something catchy, you're not only in the wrong store, friend, you're in the wrong country.

Hence, evaluating a record such as this one (I'm so not typing out that long-ass title again), becomes a troublesome, if not a flat out pointless task, because you can't really compare Sleep Bello Sonno's sound to any other band. I'd say they'll likely appeal to fans of other strange-as-hell indie bands, like mewithoutYou, Rapid Cities or Look Mexico (just to name a few off the top of my head), but the truth is that they don't really sound that similar to any of them. They simply appear as an outfit who must be appreciated for the strange rarity of their atmospheres, and fans of those other bands are likely trained in that, hence they'll have the easiest time getting into SBS as well. Good on them I say, because as it spins continually in the background as I drag this review out, I'm actually liking what I'm hearing, even if I'm not making a whole lot of sense of it yet. A peculiar grower it is then, but for SBS to really knock my socks off, they face the same challenge as many similar bands, namely making all that oddness add up into something so impressive that you simply can't miss the brilliance when you listen.


Download: Hmm.. Any track will outline the idea, but you should get them all to appreciate the full painting
For The Fans Of: mewithoutYou, Rapid Cities, Look Mexico

Release Date 08.08.2009

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