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Aereogramme 

Sleep and Release

Wednesday, Apr 9 2003
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The chunky bass line that opens Aereogramme's Sleep and Release is nothing less than a short fuse. When it sizzles into the rest of the song's parts -- the combustible guitars, the pounding drums, the wrung-out vocal wail -- the tune goes up like the Alamo. But as the record plugs along, as organs, strings, and drum machines drizzle in and leader Craig B. shifts between plaintive crooning and caustic screeching, it becomes clear that this band isn't just explosive. Like its Glaswegian contemporaries Mogwai and Arab Strap, Aereogramme is sophisticated as well.

Founded in 1998 when Craig B.'s other band, Ganger, was running out of gas, Aereogramme generated no small amount of buzz with its debut LP, A Story in White. But where that sprawling effort was a little hard to take in, Sleep and Release is a well-charted journey, a calculated, 50-minute ride that fuses lyrical balladry with hardcore squelch.

From its grand beginnings, the record takes an introverted direction on "A Simple Process of Elimination," as Craig B. ekes out the words "Erase us/ Erase this world" with a Radiohead-ish degree of sincerity. The CD then segues into the gnarly, pummeling chords of "Older," with the singer trading off between gloomy crooning and vitriolic shrieking.

As Sleep and Release unfolds, the sounds get ever richer. Melancholy strings join the mix for the downtrodden "In Gratitude," while acoustic guitars drive the prickly ballad "A Winter's Discord." The record's untitled closer features a haunting buildup in which violins dance around an anxious snare drum pattern, only to fall away in the last moments, leaving the listener out of breath and wondering what the hell is in the water over there in Glasgow.

About The Author

Garrett Kamps

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