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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening and Closing CD (album) cover


Sleepytime Gorilla Museum



3.68 | 109 ratings

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4 stars Grand Opening and Closing is the awesome debut album of the RIO/Avant-prog band Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. The album sounds in general really loud and deep. Anguished is the music. SGM mix different instruments in an inventive way. Their rhythms changes, guitar riffs and vocals are often unexpected, surprising. SGM are really good to create particular atmospheres and to bring us in a dream world. The principal lyrical themes of that album are bravado, powerlessness, apocalypse, fear, aspirations, future/past, hidden things... There are two lead singers in SGM: Carla Kihlstedt and Nils Frykdahl. Other band members play a lot of unusual instruments in addition to guitar, keyboard and drums.

Gran Opening and Closing is totally brilliant! 1. Sleep is Wrong (6:35) The song begins with a fade in. Voices set the rhythm in parallel with the drumbeats and the notes produced by the down-tuned bass. At the end, the guitar is juggling and it makes me think to a pursuit. The sound continually changes from a speaker to the other one while the singers repeat constantly "Ah!" and imitate some dog barks.

2. Ambugaton (5:38)(ambugaton means millenial apocalypse) This is an instrumental track (except they say "Ambugaton!") quite progressive or I could be more precise by saying it's evolving. The guitar is really melodic at the begining and the drums take more and more place while the song advance. The distortion guitar entered. It increases until the singer shout a booming "Ambugaton!" The guitar is going a little bit psychedelic at the end. 3. Ablutions (6:11) Ablutions represents the atmosphere of a haunted place for me. The keyboardist play horrendous, dramatic chords and is doing worrying sounds. Carla Kihlstedt starts to sing with a mystical voice. After a couple of strange sounds, she and Frykdahl sing along in an intense moment. But Kihlstedt leads the vocals in that song.

4. 1997 ( Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's... ) (4:56) 1997 begins with the sound of a backing up vehicule. This track is one of the most heavy on the album. Nil Frykdahl is singing in a kind of heavy-trash metal.

5. The Miniature (1:03) Really short. A soft track with electric violon, marimba, and tibetan bells. Ends with with keyboards downbeats.

6. Powerless (9:32) A marvelous track with indescribable sounds. It's transcendent. It gives the impression to enter the underworld. At the begining, Frykdahl sings with a soft deep voice. Guitar and bass becomes more predominant while he shout "Powerless!". After that, comes a duet of Frykdahl and Kihlstedt in which Frykdahl takes a high-pitched voice. The last 3 minutes are wonderful. It's like a dialogue between the guitar and the bass. The singers get in, saying with intensity "La la la la la..." . It fades out with some whispered "Powerless" accompanied by mysterious squeaky guitar sounds.

7. The Stain (6:46) The vocals are done by both Kihlstedt and Frykdahl. The track is based on surprising guitar effects that reminds me the most crazy guitar part (4:46 to 5:08) of Yours Is No Disgrace (Yes), but in a more heavy vibrancy. "The Stain" is a really strange, unexpected and impelling song. It's one of the most inspiring track on this cd at my point of view. 8. Sleepytime (10:28) Really calm and meditative track. It's sleepy time... Both vocalists sing in a musing way for half of the track. In the second part, their voice is going out-and-out and it finally concludes to some mellow "Sleepytimes".

9. Sunflower (7:52) Keyboards, guitar, and marimba plays notes separated in time. All the musical piece is instrumental. The purpose of Sunflower seems to create a relax and pensive mood. The music is a little bit predictable, so I think it's not the best track on the album.

10. More Time (2:47) This short track starts and ends with a repetitive sound (pendulum). The guitar and the singing are really insistent throughout the song.

11. Flinch (5:24) At the begining, "Flinch" gives the impression to be penetrating a forbidden place on tiptoe. This song is a like a lament, and it is sung by Carla Kihlstedt. The song atmosphere is oppressive; it results a really nice ambience. I'm highly strung while I'm listening to that one.

12. Powerless [Live] (9:42) Hmmm... What to say? It's a reprise of Powerless live. Maybe overmuch. It wasn't necessary to put the track twice. And I think a live track is less interesting, because of the bad quality sound and hand clapping.

I would say it's an awesome album; a lot a creativity and unexpected sounds! The album communicates very well an anguished atmosphere. If you like avant-gardist music, Grand Opening and Closing is for you! For me, 4 stars.

Review by guitar_ode (Josiane Fortin)

guitar_ode | 4/5 |


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