Gorky's Zygotic Mynci Sleep/Holiday

Nine albums into their career, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci have taken a decidedly sombre route for Sleep/Holiday, abandoning their psych-pop immediacy for a "mature” (read: far less exuberant) collection of folk-rock tunes. Save the album’s few detours — the Zombies feel of opener "Walking for Winter,” the country-infused "Country” and the album’s only jolt of energy (and close cousin of Spanish Dance Troupe’s "Poodle Rockin’”), "Mow the Lawn” — the album is surprisingly uniform, lacking the kind of diversity that made their best work so fascinating. As a result, far too much of the album becomes and remains stagnant despite the littering of gems like "Happiness,” "Single to Fairwater” and "Leave My Dreaming” along the way. The main culprits are tracks like "Shore Light” and "Pretty as a Bee,” a nine-and-a-half-minute funeral march that precedes the record’s equally languid closer, "Red Rocks.” It’d be misguiding to call the album a complete failure as it towers far above many of their peers, especially considering their impressive longevity, but Sleep/Holiday is still significantly below the major accomplishments of Barafundle and How I Long to Feel that Summer in My Heart. In the end, though, it's not a problem of Gorky's changing direction or failing to live up to their past so much as the record genuinely feeling like the result of an enervated band capable of so much more. (Sanctuary)