Japancakes The Sleepy Strange

Athens, GA, instrumental outfit Japancakes continues their hypnotic melodic excursions on their third album, The Sleepy Strange. Fronted by Eric Berg and recorded with care by Macha producer Andy Baker, Japancakes hang their hat on sweet melody and repetition. Like some of the greatest Krautrock of the '70s, the method to these meanderings results from unrehearsed open-ended jams that are focused around simple melodic phrases and followed by some necessary editing. The six-piece ensemble play guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, cello and pedal steel guitar, repeating the melodic ideas continuously, unearthing some unbelievably pure moments of lush serenity. On Sleepy Strange, the countrified pedal steel slide tends to dominate on too many of the tracks, but the strongest compositions bring other voices to the fore, like the refreshingly Moog-y "Soft N EZ" and the rhythmicly blissful "Vinyl Fever." (Kindercore)