Fifth album time for Norway’s Sleepyard, and once again, the duo of Oliver and Svein Kersbergen (plus a clutch of special guests) have fashioned a beautifully mellow, but never less than thrilling series of soundscapes.
Hauntingly poised somewhere between an early Eno ambient album (“Big Picture”) and the first This Mortal Coil LP, but venturing further afield when the mood is right, Winter Crickets is effectively instrumental even when vocals do stray into earshot, and essentially wordless even when lyrics are deployed.
Such is the momentum built up around the instrumentation, even when things lurch into the deliberately cheesy keys and tempos of “(Always) In the Back of my Mind,” a sixties sunshine pop classic masquerading as a fifties movie house intermission theme. Or the discordant radio dialing that leads into the ultra-bounce “Angels Make Perfect” – teen dream psychedelia that even Bacharach would bat his eyelashes to.
Or the brief and almost-clattering “Silent Running,” a perky prelude to what is both the most atypical track here, and one of the undisputed highlights, “Blue Barracuda.” Here lyrics and voice are equally unmistakable, as Judy Dyble returns from Sleepyard’s past to add siren singing to a piece that feels as though it were recorded underwater, and now you’re hearing it from the same vantage point.
So many moods, so many feelings, but each one is so tightly woven together that the fourteen tracks blend into one single experience, across an album that feels a lot shorter than it actually is, but which ought to be a lot longer, too.
‘Winter Crickets’ is awash in genteel tonalities, from the campfire hymnal sprays that crackle throughout the sun setting grooves of ‘summer crickets’ – think ‘midnight cowboy’ retuned by a gathering of J Xaverre and Toshack Highway types to the hazy late 60’s bubble grooving of the radio purring soft psych west coast tracings of ‘angel makes perfect’ whiffing ever so longingly it has to be said of Neutral Milk Hotel, it’s a set that even in its pre-production fashioning, draws you close with jaw agape and eyebrow raised.
Mark Barton - The Sunday experience
Winter Crickets is a new dawn for Sleepyard. This is their 5th full-length album in an expansive body of work. The band's four previous album have each in part, celebrated the seasons. Winter Crickets is no exception with the elegiac title track, and the sultry Summer Crickets.
As ever, Sleepyard explores sonic and harmonic territories, with a heady and evocative blend of musical variety. Sunshine pop, dreamy folk and psychedelic soundscapes carry the listener through the spaces of the heart and mind
Drawing from a wealth of gifted collaborators and special guests, Winter Crickets features multi instrumentalist and vocalist Katje Janisch, Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention, Trader Horne) and Geoff Leigh (Henry Cow).
Oliver Kersbergen and Svein Olav Kersbergen are SLEEPYARD, They proudly present, Winter Crickets. A hallmark of an album, in any season.
Global Recording Artists
(C) 2018 Global Recording Artists
released July 21, 2018
Oliver Kersbergen - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, Lyre, Gluckenspiel, Piano & Vocals
Svein Kersbergen - Keyboards, Drums, Harmonica & Vocals
Sleepyard is a psychedelic pop band from Norway formed in 1994. They released “The runner” in (2003)
and contributed music to the movie Monsterthursday. On their latest albums Future lines and Black Sails, they have collaborated with Pianist Mike Garson, Judy Dyble, Nik Turner, Mike Garson and Sonic Boom. Sleepyard released Black sails US label Global Recording Artists in March 2014....more