Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening And Closing

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Seeland
Catalog Number: Seeland 523
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:03:00

Weird for weird's sake? RIO (Rock In Opposition) is the outer limits of progressive music. The avante garde of the progressive community, RIO is about as far from standard symphonic progressive as you can get. Over the past year, I have begun to explore this genre, and what I have heard (Miriodir, Thinking Plague, Birdsongs...) has been incredibly unique, surprisingly melodic, and well executed and orchestrated. Considering this was a genre that I ignored, I have really liked what I have heard.

San Francisco based band Sleepytime Gorilla Museum have been generating a buzz in the prog community with their highly entertaining, performance- based live shows, and a recent addition to Nearfest 2003. Their debut Grand Opening And Closing is a schizophrenic mix of styles. This qualifies as one of the most frustrating recordings that I have heard in a long time. Musically the band creates some monstrously heavy riffing in songs like "Sleep Is Wrong" and "1997." They can immediately switch to the highly melodic and atmospheric in tracks like "The Miniature" and "Ambugaton". The band also shows a creative flair by using some home made instruments that are incorporated into the songs.

Now, having said all that, the vocals make this pretty close to unlistenable. Carla Kihlstedts' horrible vocals in "Ablutions" had me thinking Bob Dylan's voice isn't so bad after all. As for the male vocals they are actually worse, unless you are a fan of Slayer, then this should be right up your alley. Deep, guttural screaming is just not my cup of tea.

So feel my pain folks. It is obvious that as musicians they are very good players, and the music is very interesting, yet I am so repulsed by the vocals that it makes it very difficult to get through the CD. As much as I respect the tremendous musicianship, listening to music should be pleasurable, and the vocals keep me from really enjoying this record. Having played this one for my wife, she looked at me and said: "What the hell is this crap," and unfortunately in a certain respect, I had to agree.

Sleep Is Wrong (6:35) / Ambugaton (5:38) / Ablutions (6:05) / 1997 (4:48) / The Miniature (0:59) / Powerless (9:30) / The Stain (6:46) / Sleepytime (10:16) / Sunflower (7:52)

Carla Kihlstedt - violin, percussion guitar, autoharp, pump organ, voice
Nils Frykdahl - guitars, tibetan bells, autoharp, voice
Moe Stiano - percussion, metal, pressure cap, marimba, spring, spring nail guitar, popping turtle, food containers, tympani
Dan Rathbun - bass, slide piano log, pedal action wiggler, thing, autoharp, voice
David Shamrock - drums, percussion
Frank Grau - drums

Grand Opening & Closing (2001, 2006)
Live (2003)
Of Natural History (2004)
In Glorious Times (2007)

The Face (DVD) (2005)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: September 29th 2002
Reviewer: Eric Porter

Artist website:
Hits: 405
Language: english


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