The Big Sleep

House of Blues--The Parish

December 02, 2006

I wasn't in the best of moods Saturday night. As a result I felt like The Big Sleep was gonna need to blow my mind for me to have any interest in them at all. Alas, though my brain and skull chunks didn't have a chance ruin the navy blue interior of the House of Blues Parish Room, I was rocked. And I guess that was enough, because I ended up buying The Big Sleep's new CD before they finished their set.

The Big Sleep is a rock trio from Brooklyn that is more about soundscapes, whether they be droning or dreamy, than had nodding catchiness. The hook comes eventually, though. You've just gotta wait for it. In this band, the destination is the journey. It's more about noticing and appreciating soundscapes than bouncing your head.

Danny Barria and Sonya Balchandani both play keyboards, while Sonya juggles the bass as Danny variates between the guitar. With the presence of two keyboards onstage, it's no surprise the reward is in the tape geek details, the background, the chirpy chimes or hissing tape that sounds like whistling wind. The trio is rounded out by a drummer.

What I love about this band is that it's hard to know what to expect from them. They can rock hard with that high-pitched, almost lap steely sound that's a mathier version of Queens of the Stone Age, or they can wade around in experimentation and feed their loopy exhaustion. Wandering.

So, they're just as interested in destroying you with their huge stoner rock as they are lulling and luring you under the stars, the only reminder a taste of sinister silver in your mouth.

The Big Sleep might use a synthesizer bass line or drag a droning coda, but be resilient. They are testy but rewarding.


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