Maps & Atlases, the Big Sleep

Indie
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Editorial Review

THE BIG SLEEP
Album review: "Nature Experiments"
By Brandon Weigel
Friday, May 18, 2012

In its first two albums, Brooklyn band the Big Sleep only occasionally added vocals to its long, droning psych-rock tracks. And long and droning did not always equate to particularly interesting.

The Big Sleep’s third album, “Nature Experiments,” finds the band employing tauter pop-song structure and the tried-and-true formula of loud-quiet-loud for its wailing guitars and keys. Guitarist Danny Barria and bassist Sonya Balchandani take turns on vocal duties, and both use the opportunity to create sugary hooks amid the squall.

The technique suits them well. The huge choruses bolster the songs’ strengths, continually pulling the listener in deeper without getting lost in the murk.

And at times, the songs show greater depth and range than in the Big Sleep’s previous efforts, most notably the woozy soundscape of “Wood on the Water” and the sprightly power pop of “Valentine.”

“Nature Experiments” manages to be both clean and tight without losing the band’s signature clamor, which is to say that it makes for the Big Sleep’s sharpest and most compelling release to date.