A concept album… about sloths…
Review by Gary Cordwell
Release date: 28 September 2015
My sloth-loving daughter would never have forgiven me if I hadn’t reviewed this. A concept album… about sloths. By a band called Sloth., whose line up consists of Blake Caverly and… a sloth. It was a year in the making and was produced on Caverly’s iPad. Plus that title, and the album cover… brilliant! Really, there are concept albums and there are CONCEPT albums. And the music picks up the theme too. Slow, languid, lazy. And if it indeed was produced on an iPad it sounds wonderful! Belated kudos to Mr. Jobs.
The tuneful ambient feedback of the intro gives way to the lumbering fuzz of ‘Green Sunrise’. The production again shines through, it’s painstaking and elaborate, a smoky ambience surrounds the frankly huge guitars – sometimes moving inexorably forwards, sometimes soloing in twin harmony. Tension builds until a heavier, downtuned riff arrives, although the strong sense of melody is never jettisoned.
So, the sloth rouses in ‘Waking Up’ and he sounds a bit pissed off (although still not in any rush). ‘Call Of The Sloth’ ushers in a doomy riff which suddenly drops into an echoey ambient chamber. There are prog synths and post rock atmospherics. There is also a surprising depth and ambition here, genres are being spliced together seamlessly, a multi tracked metallic riff shuffles off into the distance…
The brilliantly titled ‘Nothing But Leaves’ has what I think I can safely predict are two firsts in stoner/doom/death – namely, a contribution from the aforementioned guest sloth and a brief sample of David Attenborough – you really don’t hear this stuff every day amidst the usual sludge and growls. Electronic stormclouds gather before we trudge into ‘Awaken That Which Lies Amongst The Trees’. Guitars are layered like a shuffling battalion, solos mingle lazily with chugging riffs and booming, droning chords, gradually (and, yes, slowly) building towards a dark, operatic, almost black metal denouement.
And then we have the slight misstep of the final track ‘Smoke n Sleep’ (do sloths smoke?) an odd concoction of synths, dub, samples and wibbly electronics which leaves you slightly deflated and baffled. But overall this album is fun – varied, well produced and played and surprisingly earnest considering its subject matter. I’m not sure how many repeat listens it will get or how (and if) this will be performed live but, as niche as this is, it’s cautiously recommended.
6 out of 10
- Green Sunrise
- Waking Up
- Call Of The Sloth
- Nothing But Leaves
- Awaken That Which Lies Amongst The Trees
- Smoke N Sleep