After a hushed buildup, Sleeper arrives and its a sweeter and more pensive side of Segall's oeuvre than he's really let loose with before. As the album is a reflection on the death of the artist's late father, it’s easy to see why there was little fanfare to herald its arrival on Segall's part and possibly why he's chosen to focus more on his Fuzz project in interviews. Honestly I can understand that impulse. Sleeper is a measured and mostly acoustic affair, dipping nicely into the pop waters that fellow traveler and collaborator Mikal Cronin has of late, with orchestral arrangements and large pop embraces weaving between the spare acoustic tracks. Of all his past works, the songs ring closest to the b-sides to his first Drag City single, "I Can't Feel It". On the flip of that, "Falling Hair" and more closely "Children of Paul" showed Segall's aptitude for medium tempo sway, and he expands on those two aberrations in his catalog nicely here, only occasionally allowing the crackle of fuzz to reach the surface. In its place he finds a new intensity in lyrical ferocity and raw nerve folk that wanders from "Ride A White Swan"-style Bolan-isms to the orchestral pomp of Moody Blues and dark waters of John Martyn. But comparisons often fall short and what remains is that Segall has crafted a mature, poignant and moving ode to paternal loss and in his grieving process we all gain a musical gem.
Stream in full over at NPR.
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