sleepmakeswaves: These Are Not Your Dreams (Bird’s Robe)

Aussie post rock outfit make superb return with three EP set compiled as one album

Released Jul 17th, 2020 via Bird’s Robe / By Clementine Lloyd
sleepmakeswaves: These Are Not Your Dreams (Bird’s Robe) This year has done a number on us all. Not that we want to harp on about it, but needs must when it has shaped such a hotly anticipated release as this! The gents of sleepmakeswaves worked hard to curate a bevvy of not one, not two but three EPs, to be released gradually throughout the first half of this year. Alas, it was not to be. Covid has had them over a barrel, and we can all relate.

That being said, they are almost within our grasp! The three EPs are to be birthed into the world as triplets, rather than siblings—some would say as nature intended—and we are demonstrably excited.

But what of the format of these three unique, but inseparable, allies? Well, gather around children and I shall tell you a tale.

When formulating the basis of their newest record, the lads decided they wanted to do something that would “convey something specific about where we’ve headed artistically over the past two years”. That is, since the release of the hotly received Made of Breath Only, which garnered them more than one award nomination! So, they set about creating three distinct records that showcase just this.

What they now have to show is available either as one LP (available in MP3 or CD format) or—for the vinyl heads amongst you—3 unique and beautiful records replete with gorgeous artwork designed by James Stewart. Head here to secure these beauts! Every penny helps the band during this trying time.

Deciphering each EP has been a joy. And, whilst their stellar math-core-esque style is still delightfully in tact, the elements they play with throughout each four track EP are engaging for vastly different reasons. And there is one final little twist that the fellas have up their tight sleeves…

They have LYRICS! The instrumentalist die-hards among you may hang your heads, but oh, the way it has been done is so in keeping with the SMW aesthetic. Coming hot out of EP 2, titled Out Of Hours, Zelda teases you with a light preamble before kicking in with heavy drums and a wall of lyrics. It is at once a surprising addition, before the vocals meld with the instrumentals to create a cohesive soundscape.

When Bearded interviewed the band back, in 2011, talk strayed to the inclusion of lyrics: “We want to have some lyrics we can stand behind, but don’t want to make [them] the centerpiece. They’re something you can check out along the way. Like nice scenery.”

Staying true to their word, it is lovely to hear such instrumental layering, the vocals being as much an instrument as anything else. Some words get lost amidst the landscape, making the first decipherable lyric “So much left to say it’s all so soon…no I couldn’t change it all” all the more apt.

This second EP showcases a metal-heavy realm, with Pyramids’ super intense undulating drums welcoming us, smashing through the beguiling riffs. Their focus holds their collective talent in high esteem, being incredibly heavy on skins and strings. It has drive and focus, and could very easily see a mosh-pit formulating in the crowds when played live. In a word: Epic.

This is in sharp relief to the more electronic elements of the first EP, No Safe Place. It encompasses ambiance and solitude in the sparse yet ephemeral Time Wants a Skeleton, alive with clicks and glitches that would not be out of place in an Alien reboot movie—just a hint of disquiet at the end there. Yet Batavia is a supercharged speed-horn. It’s the only word for it (don’t look it up, you will just find the band). It’s jittery edge grabs you from the first and refuses to let go. There is just so much to see! And so little time.

This is arguably the least vocal of the three, with the final EP is definitely king of this castle. Lyrical MVP Serenity Now gives us an uninterrupted foray into beautiful vocals and choral arrangements. An ambient closer to the collective for sure, they allow us space to explore the vocal landscapes they can paint. Stretching and contracting the synth notes, layering instruments to create these beautifully curated playgrounds in which their personalities shine through. This is the eternally thoughtful ender to a labor of love. One that shows the talent and dexterity they hold, individually and as a team.

Some plans don’t work out, and that sucks. Yet a slightly larger wait just to have this whole record to hold in one shot, that is not a terrible thing. Traversing its borders, the landscapes within, and the pathways between, is a fucking delight. One that will have you returning again and again to unpick just how the hell they have made you feel like you have liquid gold in your veins. Put plainly, this is an incredible effort from an incredible crew.

Covid-19 has screwed us all, but none so much as the artists we adore. Show them some love, and grab yourselves a copy of the vinyl before they sell out! 9/10