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SLEEP THERAPY w/ Snowden and Tora Tora Tora



  The Drunken Unicorn  

Poncey-Highlands, Atlanta, GA

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This evening was the album release show for new-ish local act Sleep Therapy. I had seen them once before, and enjoyed their set then, so i was looking forward to it. Unfortunately it fell on a day when i had 5,000 other things to accomplish. So after carting people around, eating Indian food, and going to a house warming party, i wandered into The Drunken Unicorn at about 10:45. This was in time to catch the last song and a half by Tora Tora Tora.

Going in i only knew two things about the band:

  • they are apparently fans of the WWII film Tora Tora Tora.
  • secondly, they went a bit overboard with their stickers at the men's room of The EARL.

(Brendan's note: one other fact is that their band name gives my spell-checker fits!)

Given those two facts, i had no idea what to expect. It turns out that Tora Tora Tora sounded great and performed energetic, catchy rock with excellent bass riffage that was intriguing in a vaguely Peter Hook-ish sort of way. I do admit that i am now rather curious to see more of this act. Tora Tora Tora were a pleasant surprise.

On the other hand, we have Snowden. I have enjoyed the two releases that these local post-punkers have released to date, and have enjoyed them in concert the one time i saw them. In the few months since then, Snowden have added a new member, some guy in ugly white shoes who played synths and percussion and sang and danced. Really, he didn't add anything to the sound, but it is obvious that his presence is still being worked out. Much of what Snowden played tonight was stripped down to the raw rhythm tracks, while the other members tried to integrate ugly white shoes guy into their sound. Basically, they sounded unfocused, but i am patient enough to wait for Snowden to figure it out. However, i must say that it was the strong drumming of Chandler Rentz that held the band together tonight. Without him keeping the show moving, it would have been sheer chaos.

One other thing i noticed due to the stripped down, sparse nature of the sound tonight is that the lead guitarist plays under a ton of effects and often was creating a very Bethany Curve-like wall of guitar noise. I think he was a bit undermixed, as the drum and bass really overpowered him a lot. Others obviously disagreed with me as the crowd was dancing around like crazy to the mostly rhythmic music.

Snowden played a lot of stuff that was new tonight but they also played a few older tunes as well, and those tunes sounded rather different. Both Kill the Power and Black Eyes work equally as well in the new, stripped down sound format. However, Like Bullets sounded really awesome in its new incarnation. The backing vocals of the guy with the ugly white shoes were really appropriate here.

Overall, Snowden were a mixed bag. It's obvious that they are trying new things, and i was curious and entertained. Tracers, on the other hand, found them boring this evening. I guess we will have to see what happens with the band.

Finally, just after midnight, Sleep Therapy went on. They are a standard indie rock four piece. Both of the guitarists play with a delay pedal, and that gives their sound a vaguely shoegazery feel that is less Slowdive and more Sonic Youth, really. And tonight, they were very loud.

The band walked out and tore into some energetic indie pop, with nice rhythms, soaring guitars, and competent vocals. They were really playing hard, and i was pleased to see that the crowd was getting into the show. About halfway through, they hit a real high point for me. They were playing a typical indie rock song with a lot of delay, when suddenly the drummer and bassist sped up a lot, causing what was a nice, lilting song to become a frenzied, distorted rocker. It is as, if with one tempo change, they went from pop music to Sonic Youth-ness. Anyway, they did a great jam out section there that included the drummer beating his kit so hard that the little pin that holds the hi-hat in place flew off and was lost on the floor! This was a wonderfully cathartic tune, full of energy and pathos. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and i hope that something approaching that level of intensity is on their debut album, which i picked up this evening.

Overall, though, Sleep Therapy put on a fun set. They continue to impress. I encourage you to seek them out when they are performing. They tend to be fun in concert.

Related Links:
  Tracers reviewed Sleep Therapy opening for The Octopus Project a few months before this show.

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