Well, Melbourne continues to flourish with more enlightening sound. It’s hard to believe Sleep Parade released their debut record back in 2008, around a year before Sound Awake was hitting shelves! Fast-forward to 2013 and Sleep Parade’s sophomore LP is finally here. The news really caught me by surprise, and I’m sure reactions were similar by many other fans who have been keeping a steady eye on the new Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus music that has been ever so slowly emerging. With all that currently in play, Sleep Parade seemed to slip under the radar. Of course they had released the track “Dancing With the Enemy” a while back, but it was almost without any further warning that they announced Inside/Out to be set for a July 5th release!
With that said, the wait has certainly paid off, and Sleep Parade has added another masterpiece to their arsenal. Inside/Out is different than Things Can Always Change on a great number of levels, but that is no surprise since the band’s bio openly states how their sound has evolved as they have grown and matured as musicians.
Before hearing Inside/Out for the first time, I did some research, and upon reading the excerpt below, I began to feel a bit uneasy…
“Gone are the sprawling prog influences of their first record: instead, revamped and revitalized, Sleep Parade have now matured into a sophisticated, harmony-heavy rock band whose multi-layered songs have been painstakingly crafted.” – JB HI-FI
I very much enjoy the “prog influences” from Sleep Parade’s first album and couldn’t understand why it was made to sound like such a good thing that they were gone! I was worried the band had traded away their captivating original sound for the much more redundant, poppy (dare I say “mainstream”) sound many heavy progressive fans, including myself, usually can’t stand. So many times I’ve read similar excerpts about new music, and so many times that’s exactly what it ends up meaning… “The band you once loved is now experimenting with a multitude of difference genres in a desperation move to earn as many new fans as possible.”
But after actually listening to the album, all my uneasiness quickly vanished. I never should have had doubts because with Inside/Out Sleep Parade has hit the happy medium right the dot. What “happy medium” you ask? Well, Inside/Out isn’t a carbon-copy of Things Can Always Change, even at the slightest. But the band also hasn’t abandoned their roots so much that old-time fans will be displeased with the changes. And furthermore, to say the band has completely left their progressive nature behind is a bit of a stretch.
Sleep Parade has given us a final product that is not only new and fresh, but also one that the band is undoubtedly proud to call their work. 2013 has already started off as an incredible year for Australia’s progressive rock movement, and I believe Inside/Out is merely the tip of the iceberg for what is still yet to come.
Support the band and head over to Bandcamp, JB HI-FI, or iTunes. Definitely a purchase that will be worth your while!
[Awaiting an updated lineup]
Leigh Davies – Guitars, Lead Vocals, Programming/Synth
Matt Delaney – Bass, Backing Vocals, Programming/Synth
Dan Teng – Drums, Backing Vocals, Programming/Synth
“It’s been five years since Sleep Parade’s critically-lauded 2008 debut, Things Can Always Change, dropped. Since then the Melbourne rock act have journeyed extensively throughout Australia as hand-picked main support for the likes of Karnivool, Cog, Dead Letter Circus, The Butterfly Effect and Porcupine Tree, as well headlining their own tours on the back of songs like Carry On and Passenger,
which enjoying extensive airplay on both Triple J and Channel V.
In that time, singer and lead guitarist Leigh Davies and drummer Dan Teng lost a keyboardist and a bassist, replaced the latter with Matt Delaney, and gained a second guitar player and keys man in the form of Red Black. But by the time the band hunkered down at the legendary Sing Sing Studios in 2009 to begin writing their follow-up album with acclaimed ARIA-nominated producer Forrester Savell, the shift within the band was more profound than simply a couple of line-up changes and a hefty regimen of killer live performances under their belt.
Three years on, with the opening strains of their startling new teaser track, Dancing With The Enemy, it’s clear we’re listening an all-new Sleep Parade. As frontman and guitarsmith Leigh Davies’ raspy snarl bounces off the elastic, twanged-out opening riff before glissanding into a deep, urgent groove, spangled Stratocastic chops, sanguine leadlines and lush melody, it’s immediately apparent
Sleep Parade are a completely different beast. ‘Obviously we didn’t want to repeat ourselves but it wasn’t like a conscious decision to change the sound,’ relays Teng. ‘As you get older and change, so do your musical tastes. So for us, paramount to the new album, was there be a heavy emphasis on vocals, melodies and harmonies.’
Indeed. If there is one constant that remains it is Davies’ powerfully versatile voice. Wielding it with even more dynamic skill, prowess and range, his compelling melodies are augmented by rich harmonies and a kind of cracked vulnerability. As Davies put it, Dancing With The Enemy is about the constant tug o’ war between the rational and the emotional, illustrated by the metaphor of a dysfunctional relationship with a lover. ‘The song uses the character of a woman, who represents the unconscious mind – which is full of anger and frustration – and the character of myself, who represents the conscious mind. When an individual is overtaken by the unconscious mind, it is almost an easy way out, as to stay conscious requires work and awareness. So the song describes that feeling of being out of control, feeling completely at the mercy of your emotions.’
So what the hell took them so long? ‘Well, aside from the constant touring, the songs we wrote needed time to gestate,’ explains Teng. ‘Some evolved, became something amazing and inspired us to push in new directions, while others just naturally fell away over time. We needed a chance to be really inspired as opposed to rushing this record and producing something sub-par. Our standards
and the benchmark we set for ourselves as a band were really high.’
If INSIDE/OUT is any indication, it’s a benchmark they’ve nailed and then some – Dancing With The Enemy is but a mere taste of the tour de force that is to come. It might’ve taken them three long years in and out of the studio but gone now are the sprawling prog influences of their first opus: revamped and revitalised, Sleep Parade have matured into a sophisticated, melody and harmony-heavy rock band whose multi-layered songs have been immaculately, painstakingly crafted.”
For Fans Of:
Progressive / Alternative / Indie – Rock
You Might Also Like:
Karnivool / Dead Letter Circus / Breaking Orbit / Jericco
Things Can Always Change (2008)
Mr Identify – EP (2010)
Carry On / Everyday / One Track Mind / Underground / All We Are / Passengers / Open Up / Barriers / E.C.T. / Weeping Walls / Mr Identify / Seconds Away / Headstorm / Devil’s Door / Dancing With the Enemy / Collisioin / 2:09 / Footsteps / Oxygen / Mirrors / The River / Home / Open Your Eyes / Inside/Out
[Until a music video is released for a song on Inside/Out, you can enjoy this awesome clip for “Passengers” off Things Can Always Change.]