If you've been following the activity of Carlsbad's Inspired and the Sleep over the past year, you've probably heard at least one song from their new EP, Eyelid Kid. More of an ambitious multimedia project than simply a six-song recording, Eyelid Kid is notable in that almost all of its tracks have a corresponding video, which the group has been slowly releasing throughout the year in the lead-up to the EP's release. It's not that uncommon a practice these days, however, as such a crowded field of new music means having to work that much harder at getting the attention of the listener. The Palace Ballroom did something similar with their newest album, and then there was, y'know, Beyoncé.
I can't say if it was necessary for Inspired and the Sleep to go to such lengths to simply get people to notice what they're doing. But I will say this: Eyelid Kid's music definitely holds its own. Don't get me wrong—the videos are a cool touch, and it's always interesting to see a band reaching beyond its comfort zone in the interest of creating a unique artistic experience. That being said, Eyelid Kid represents a cool step forward for the band.
The EP starts off with energy and momentum, the darkly funky "In My Labyrinth Mind" propelled by Max Greenhalgh's rolling bassline and a propulsive drum beat provided by Ditches' David Mead. To top it all off, the song concludes with a touch of sophisti-pop saxophone that turns an already strong track into an unforgettable one.
Not every song reaches those heights, but Inspired and the Sleep frequently come close. There's more sax and sexy low-end in the groove-heavy strut of "Time Travel," and the group echoes Spoon's haunting less-is-more rock on the piano-driven standout "Peripherals." There's even a dreamy, unexpected sweetness to closer "Die Slow," which the band wraps in flute and fluttery synths. Only "Sleeps Well on Knives" feels as if it's missing something, the too-smooth indie pop sound wanting for more of the darkness that precedes it.
Inspired and the Sleep's ambition is worthy of praise, but I don't know if I'll end up revisiting the videos for these songs anytime soon. The songs themselves, however, that's another story.