Leah Welbaum's vocals haunted all our dreams with Slothrust, and now she's back at it again, alongside drummer Mickey Vershbow, with ANMLPLNET's debut, Fall Asleep. Described as a psychedelic dream-rock duo, Welbaum and Vershbow are taking us to the place between a dream and a nightmare, as the album's name suggests.
Opening track and single "I Was Fucked By a Cloud" is a hot-air balloon ride into a psychedelic dreamscape. Welbaum's vocals are softer than what she showcased with Slothrust, as the lyrics and instrumentals deliver the same message of an absinthe-induced trip of sexual exploration. The track has a never-ending instrumental outro of static guitar noise, an essential component of the psych formula.
As the tracks weave into each other without a pause, the elusive dream continues. Welbaum's vocals remain soft and sultry, challenging our expectations of the grunge front-woman we've heard in the past. She unlocks the door to an uneasy imagination, like when she sings: "Hi, I am 12 / I'm from Arkansas / I collect dead birds / They're pretty" in "20,000 Leagues Underneath the Serpent," an eight-minute journey further into the nightmare.
The duo then complicates the narrative by covering Lana Del Rey's "Ride" halfway through; given that Slothrust's last album was comprised entirely of covers, it makes sense, especially given Del Rey's reputation for maintaining themes of cinematic tragedy. The overlap works.
Fall Asleep is a hazy album executed with much thought and care. It's an adult trip to Neverland, as it twists and bends our notion of reality, allowing the imagination to take control of the steering wheel. (Ba Da Bing!)