Sunny Side Up
What? A jam-y, bluesy, stoner act out of San Francisco? Unheard of. Quips aside, Sleepy Sun delivered some amped up jams last year for the Deadhead at heart. This summer will definitely favor the patchouli-scented flower child ears with Sleepy Sun’s upcoming release, Fever.
Sleepy proves to be a separate entity – not just a trip-fest among the likes of 2008-era MGMT and Of Montreal. Opening track “Marina” sets off the hippie blues all too skillfully with a blues harp added into the mix. Singers Bret Constantino and Rachel Fannan share vocal duties between the heavy guitar licks a la the desert rock found in the 2009 documentary “Such Hawks, Such Hounds.” Halfway through the track, the song builds to a Latin break filled with enough satisfying wooden percussion to keep things happening in an obvious nod to Santana’s “Jingo.” Songs like “Wild Machines and “Acid Love” keep in tune to the same heavily distorted rock of the late ’60s displayed in “Marina.”
It’s a shame “Rigamaroo” is the loneliest number on “Fever”; it’s the only folk duet that lives up to the “Sleepy” in Sleepy Sun. Stars-like in nature, the subtle dialogue between Constantino and Fannan provide insight into what the band could be, but choose not to in favor of a bigger emotional release – the louder tracks prove to earn their keep instead.“Freedom Line” finds a way to combine both worlds. It’s an ear-pounder for sure, but the sparse guitar and heavy bass/drum with slight syncopation give enough space for Constantino and Fannan to mesh pipes.
Fever is proof that today’s psychedelic bands can still jam for nine minutes and hold an album together without overly obvious “singles.” Sleepy Sun can certainly expect a following fresh from last year’s Embrace , but with a new appreciation for the band’s grasp of dynamics. With MGMT’s Congratulations trudging along quite nicely, 2010 will definitely provide Sleepy Sun a place under the musical sun.