Sleeping People: Sleeping People
Temporary Residence

Featuring past and present members of Pinback, Tarentel, Rumah Sakit, and Howard Hello, Sleeping People (Kasey Boekholt, Amber Coffman, Brandon Relf, and Kenseth Thibideau) dreams of 7/4 and 11/16 time signatures by night and constructs instrumental polyhedrons by day. Unlike some bands that deny certain influences (even when they're patently obvious), Sleeping People openly acknowledges its debt to King Crimson on its self-titled debut by naming one song “Fripp For Girls” (and even admits to a kinship with early Yes, still a brave admission for any band to make in 2005). And, yes, the axeman's trademark razor-sharp sound does blissfully roar amidst flailing snares and tom-toms in a manner that recalls the mid-‘80s Discipline incarnation. Not surprisingly, while Sleeping People's members do convincingly navigate the tricky time signatures and intricate counterpoint of their complex arrangements, the group's technical proficiency isn't quite at the level of a Bruford or Fripp. That's hardly a weakness, however, as Sleeping People more than compensates for that difference with a savage attack that in tracks like “Nachos” is more reminiscent of hard-core punk than prog (“Johnny Depp” even adds funk to the group's slamming thrash).

One thing the group might want to consider is leavening its aggression with a larger share of quieter moments (a gentle one-minute coda appears but is hardly enough). Crimson classics like Starless and Bible Black and Red are monsters, yes, but ones deepened by quieter episodes that expand the emotional spectrum. Nonetheless, the 35-minute Sleeping People inarguably impresses for the group's fiery execution of the material's elaborate structures.

December 2005