Published Jun 24, 2016The first full-length release from Toronto's Sleepy Mean glides out of the speakers like a cool peak-summer breeze, a pleasant reprieve from the sweltering air and hot urban concrete. The album may not be terribly forward-thinking, but the four-piece tidily mix up different rock elements — slacker, garage, beach — into a light and airy LP.
The strength of The Long Rewind is its ability to walk the line between offering a free-form take on rock — with meandering and melodic guitar lines — while refusing to jettison structure. The band's laid-back, lo-fi approach, which harkens back to bands like Beach Fossils, is neatly laid out in the opening tracks, and particularly "Hey Liar."
But just as that approach starts becoming a little rote, Sleepy Mean change gears, slowing down and moving into more pensive territory. "Hot Faucet" is the standout here, mixing that relaxed, slower approach with catchy hooks and majestic call-and-response verses.
Sleepy Mean's ability to mix varied rock styles into something coherent (and more importantly, satisfying) is strong, although there's somewhat of a reliance on pre-existing musical tropes that have been well-explored by similar artists. When they try to break away from this to try something heavier, it comes as a sonic non-sequitur: "Choice Words" is oddly dissonant and doesn't fit with the album, seemingly slathering on noise for the sake of it.
The Long Rewind may not break much new ground, but it's an exceptionally clean and pleasant slice of summer listening. (Independent)