Describing SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM to someone whoís never heard them is pretty much impossible. Hell, having two people that have heard SGM to agree on what these guys and gal sound like is just as hard. The whole strangeness factor of SGM adds to the flavour and the appeal of the band.
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM are best described as Avant-Garde, a term used to describe nearly every single band that defies categorization and refuses to adhere to one genreís aesthetic. So all that term really does is tell you that SGM sounds weird, chaotic and unpredictable, but no idea on what they sound like.
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUMís strange blend of music has many twisted riffs, maniacal vocals, strange chanting, jarring moods and the song structures are very unpredictable and loose. Also, SGM uses some home made instruments, built by Dan Rathbun (bassist), and using them makes the melodies sound even more ethereal and out of this world.
Musically, itís a cross between MR. BUNGLE, KING CRIMSON, Acid Jazz and Folk Music. Many riffs and melodies have harmonized bits that arenít resolved, and the cacophonous wall of sound that is created often coupled with odd-time signature drumming and a syncopated beat. The amount of instrumental interplay, with multiple contradicting melody lines, just adds to the whole chaos and uneasy nature of the music. There are also some parts of the album that sound like they were improvised, which furthers the unpredictable nature of the music.
The best way to describe this is to compare it to a deranged and depraved nightmarish carnival, where the hosts (the vocalist) are guiding you to their world and describing the scenes, and the music accentuates all of the weird and maniacal acts that are showcased in this absurd reality.
This is a very ambitious piece of work, and itís not for the faint of heart or mind. Itís for anyone that wants to hear something extremely off-kilter and heavy, as it manages to mix the deranged atmosphere of the Avant-Garde artists with the heaviness of Metal bands. Itís a great album, but you will need to listen to it a multitude of times just to have an idea about what the hell is going on. Itís extremely confusing at first, and stays a bit confusing once you familiarize yourself with the album. Although thatís part of the appeal, as each time you listen to ďIn Glorious TimesĒ, a little more of the layers and layers of music gets slowly untangled and revealed.
ďIn Glorious TimesĒ is for fans of anyone who wants to hear something different and for anyone who claims that ďitís all been done beforeĒ. Itís an amazing release, but man do you need to listen to it a few times before you understand what the hell is going on.
Highly recommended, but be patient, it takes time (a LOT of time) for it to sink in. Arenít some of the best albums like that, though?
(Online July 9, 2007)