Whenever a band comes out of a lengthy hiatus, there emerges a ritual not unlike the pageantry of Groundhog Day. After an arbitrary period of hibernation, our furry favorites pop their heads out in the form of new material, and look around at the scene before them. If they see the shadow of their past success, it’s going to be six more tracks of wintry drivel. If they don’t, then it’s a new spring of originality. In the case of storied San Diego math rockers Sleeping People and their long-awaited (albeit tantalizingly brief) new EP NOTRUF, there isn’t a shadow to be seen.
After their last release Growing, Sleeping People’s heretofore most recent incarnation, it seemed that the style of instrumental, well-formulated rock was beginning to fall by the wayside. Though acts like Karma To Burn and Serpent Throne manage to keep the torch alive, it seemed that the style was losing members all the time. With NOTRUF, Sleeping People give us a brief, yet satisfying look at their plans to carry instrumental rock forward. Having reached the gold standard of jamming, being “tight but loose,” Sleeping People deliver us up two tracks of expansive, progressive jams that give the listener more than enough room to get lost in. Right before a particular riff or bass line begins to get too repetitive, they transition with the grace of early Black Sabbath into a whole new groove, to the point where we even forget what came before. By its conclusion, NOTRUF gives us an insatiable, ravenous craving for as long an album as Sleeping People can muster.
For fans Sleeping People, NOTRUF is really nothing new. All the hallmarks of the sound we’ve come to love and expect from them are present in full force. It is, however, undeniably new, having echoes of the old material heard from a new perspective. Until they decide to release a full album, this will have to tide us over.