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Now five albums and more than a decade into making their own elusive brand of bold rock music, Bay Area band Sleepy Sun isn't interested in flooding our synapses with far too many ideas on their new LP, Private Tales. They'd rather let a grander vision unfold over time, rewarding anyone with the willingness to wait it out, to actually listen. "When I hear Private Tales," says guitarist Evan Reiss, "I appreciate the spaciousness that is left for the listener. I like music that gives them an opportunity to breathe, as opposed to jamming ideas into someone's ears at all times."
That approach is clear from the very beginning, a sustained drone casting a spell of clean synth tones, monk-like melodies, muted flutes, and riffs that ring out in the distance. It's as if Sleepy Sun's core quartet (Reiss, fellow guitarist Matt Holliman, frontman Bret Constantino, and drummer Brian Tice) decided to apply the album's brakes before they even got out of the driveway. If only things were that simple. The glassy psych grooves of "Prodigal Vampire" eventually give way to the life aquatic licks of "Seaquest," a song that actually sounds like it's sailing straight towards the sun. Meanwhile, "When the Morning Comes" and "Crave" take the group down an entirely different path – one that's lined with thorny hooks and chaotic thunderclaps, as influenced by Swans as it is by Thin Lizzy.
It helps to have a strong supporting cast, of course, including bassists Jack Allen and Owen Kelley, who held the low end down on this LP. The boys were also backed by two incredible singers throughout the album's two recording sessions: the New Pornographers' Kathryn Calder and Whitehorn Singers' Hannah Moriah. Colin Stewart also reprised the producer/engineering role he played on Sleepy Sun's breakthrough records, Embrace and Fever.