Sleeping Dog – With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields

the angst in the record feels real, and thank fuck, we don’t have any of that “softly, softly look at me with my clever instruments while I play a lullaby” nonsense that seems to have overwhelmed this genre recently.

 

http://www.zealrecords.com  http://www.konkurrent.nl


Oh now this is a fine record. A lot of records on Zeal do tend to be a bit serious, a bit Belgian, and a bit po-faced. I mean we can all reflect on life, but sometimes those reflections are best kept personal, not set to worthy if slightly boring music. Luckily, (and despite the “tasteful” cover) this isn’t one of the glut of artsy-craftsy sweet nothings that we have been inundated with this last 5 years. This LP has a real sense of melody and beauty, and understands the fact that if you make slow burners,the music's got to have a sensual element too. The music’s also got a dark side to it; the angst in the record feels real, and thank fuck, we don’t have any of that “softly, softly look at me with my clever instruments while I play a lullaby” nonsense that seems to have overwhelmed this genre recently.


This is occasionally big music: Kitten Plays The Harmony Rocket, Scary Movie and From Where It Was are fabulously shimmering concoctions of Eno-style synths and high church ambience in the manner of the late great Klaus Dinger. They also sound like a post coital meditation, or a very peaceful acid trip. Away from the massive soundscapes, there are some cracking songs, opener the Untitled Ballad of You and Me, is an attractive folk plod with a fairly creepy undertone. It Leaves Us Silent and He Loved to See the World Through His Camera change from standard folksy reflections into very effective and powerful laments. The band is very good at keeping a mood from the most minimal of settings.  Now and again the record drifts into an area that’s a little too bland (Polish Love Song) but it’s the exception rather than the rule.


Quiet but powerful stuff.