Rhythm & Views

The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep's Sleep Forever stands as evidence of the destruction of the myth of the sophomore slump. In every way, it is darker, brighter, heavier and lighter than the Brooklyn band's 2006 debut, Son of the Tiger. Sleep Forever pulses where Son of the Tiger paused; it takes deep breaths where Son of the Tiger wheezed; it stretches where Son of the Tiger cramped.

On Son of the Tiger, the songs with vocals stood out far more than the instrumentals. Not so on Sleep Forever: The songs without words are just as powerful as the songs with them. But that doesn't stop "Pinkies," a song with lyrics, from winning the award for Best Straightforward Rock Song of the Year So Far--it's awesome in its simple, power-chord glory.

Perhaps the biggest way in which Sleep Forever betters its predecessor is that it doesn't let off after its peak. The remaining tracks each deliver their own intoxicating doses of hook and volume: There's "So Long," with its rising guitar chords that drop off into the bass line, and the organ on the title track ends the album on a perfectly gothic tone.

If the songs are this voluminous on a recording, then live, they'll be transcendent.

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