New Music – Sleep City Devils ‘Sunscreen’

Cosmic rays rain down and tickle the keys of the synths until they explode rainbow hued galaxial prog.

This EP has a space horror feel that lurks and festers behind the bubbling joyous music that soundtracks it. It emerges in the demonic voices but also in the unexpected twists, turns, and dissonance.

It begins with the fluttering keys and dancing drums of ‘Creatures‘, which with its robotic vocals and sci-fi phasers set to “make believe you can’t see the strings’.

It has a groovy 80s classic retro feel that builds and weaves itself into the ridiculously upbeat music as it progresses from lick to lick, and flourish to fill.

This is definitely psychedelic prog, but not as we know it Jim, I’m going with the label psy-fi prog opera.

There is a narrative, characters, and delightfully strange echoing trying to communicate through the static, but trying to grasp at the hazy craziness is like trying to communicate with an alien. It just ends up spiraling you further into the blackhole of the soundscape.

The next track ‘Bella Figlia Dell’Amore‘ serves up some fairground vibes. It continues with the intergalactic flavour but a little clearer now, much closer, you can almost catch a glimpse of it in the wacky funhouse mirrors.

There is an amazing sense of rhythm and motion in the song, as if you are a sat in a rocket ship merry-go-round. The ride is old and has seen better days, you feel giddy with excitement but just a little afraid.

A Twenty Dollar Orchestra From 1108′ bursts into the room serving up an even bigger bowl of that child hood nostalgia feeling. It is weird, wonky, but wickedly well woven.

It has a jazzy element and reminds me of ‘Music For A Found Harmonium‘ by Penguin Cafe Orchestra. There is a triumphant and joyous rush to the musicality of it that is intoxicating.

When you lose yourself in music that breaks the rules and just has fun playing, sometimes you can lose sight or ear to just how staggeringly tight the instrumentation actually is.

This is definitely the case with Sleep City Devils as you wander through the EP, bleary eyed, amazed and confused. And then it hits you with something with the perfect majestic clarity of ‘Canyon Soul‘.

Shocked back into the room all you can do is stare at the speaker jaw agape in wonder at the fuzzy toned, terrifying tickle that buzzes its way into your very atoms, shaking them to attention.

There is a story written of the Canyon Soul, an entity that lives at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and only emerges at the summoning of such sweet solos.

But that is where the EP leaves us, a taste, a parted curtain to a view beyond the veil.

Sunscreen is filled with intricate instrumentation, vibrant vivid imagery, and kaleidoscopic soundscapes. Each track is a completely different beast and yet there is a delicately woven thread that weaves in between them.

Leave them wanting more, shine on you crazy Gold canyon beast, shine on.

Words by Matt Miles

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