Sleep Lady So Long Lonely Ghost (self-released)
Post-rock bands are the jocks of the indie-music world. With their extra-long band names and even longer songs, they bludgeon the listener with awesomeness and artistry (and political awareness, in the case of Godspeed You! Black Emperor). Line up next to these guys and your puny garage band can't help but feel inferior.
But Sleep Lady—who'll play at Soda Bar on Saturday, Dec. 8—don't engage in the usual post-rock pissing match. While their songs can stretch as long as nine minutes and often incorporate sudden, surprising shifts, they keep the pretense to a minimum.
In fact, on their new album, So Long Lonely Ghost, the local quintet display a sense of humor about their awesome sound. Consider "These Fucking Worms," the album's sprawling closer: That title could be an angry God venting frustration over the failings of mankind, or it could be a dad muttering as he tends his backyard garden.
To be sure, the album—the band's second—has all the multi-part song structures and textured riffs a post-rocker could ask for. When it comes to guitar interplay, axe-men Mike Hayden and Mario Quintero make a formidable pair. But it's also restrained, introspective and a bit whimsical, thanks in part to Kristy Hayden's twinkly keyboards and cooing vocals.
That contrast yields rich results on the dreamlike "I Wanted to Be a Penguin Forever." Guided by Sarah Quintero's crunchy bass and Tony Dixon's measured drums, the mostly instrumental track opens with a descending refrain and gradually erupts with a feverish burst of guitars and keyboards, only to end on a quiet note. The song captures a potent mix of wonder and dread, suggestive of a child's-eye view.
Indeed, this isn't jock-y music. It's more laid-back and cooperative. Sleep Lady comprises two married couples—Mike and Kristy, Mario and Sarah— and their conviviality shows through in the band's intricate, clean style. Each part plays a key role; the result is a swooping, cinematic whole.