"Sleep Without Dreams"

(C Walrus Enterprises 2008)2*Sweet - Sleep Without Dreams

"Sleep Without Dreams," recorded in a studio built by themselves, Chicago alternative punk rockers 2*Sweet, (Andy Nelson, Dan Polak, Dave Cronin, Justin Pence and Pete Grossman) describe the shadowy corners of our mind. Full of heavy metal riffs influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age, this album is full of well structured melodies infused with epic, operatic vocals and pop choruses. This group of young twenty-somethings show tremendous, tremendous promise.

The opening track, "Dreamcatcher" at less than a minute of floating, almost dreamily, on eerie, gothic operatic voices cuts sharply to "Rested Eyes Tell No Lies," jamming bass and driving rhythm pulsing forward with the achingly desperate regret of a meaningful relationship left behind for other unknown certainties.

"What I Did On My Summer Vacation" cuts in deep bass lines, heavy rhythm, strong grounding vocals describing an unplanned weekend in Hell keeping the "Devil" company who, over drinks, blithely assures his unexpected guest it's "always the living who envy the dead." A depiction of what happens when good goes wrong, when your life is a lie. The real "Hell" is in our own mind "where good goes to die" and all you wish for is sleep without dreams. "Miss You" rolls right in with an excellent pace describing the demons of self doubt, the silent messages between lovers, the ache that keeps a person up at night, tortured by putrid wounds of regret and remorse. "Life's Black Ice" seemingly insipid, hits like an unanticipated patch of black ice, spinning a tale of despair and lonesomeness through heavy riffs, entwined vocals, the essence of the unexpected loss of a suicidal friend.

"King Midas Desert" is an oasis, a reprieve, the use of acoustic guitar on this track sounds like arid desert winds, barren and lifeless, pure nothingness except for the sun bleached bones of a man. "Bury Me In The Lover's Graveyard," a catchy pop tune, continues on the theme of insincerity, the cost of living a life of lies and fear. "Tarantula Perfume" is more pop rock, opening with sounds like a tarantula sliding down a gossamer strand of web, on it's way to get under your skin.

"Funeral Moon," "Give Me Your Gold," "Speak of the Devil" and "Friends 'Til The Weekend" all convey a sense of hopelessness, the pain of being lied to, the angst of having to lie, loss of love, loss of innocence, loss of self, the reality of mortality and the absence of God in an otherwise fully functional moral life. The juxtaposition of acoustic guitar and pop vocals lighten up the desperateness of the personal and social catastrophe that is the unending theme of almost all of these songs, save one.

The final track. My most favorite of all. Not for what is being depicted, but by the attitude of the artist and the message conveyed in "Dateless for Armageddon." This track is pure power rock. Being "dateless" on the last day of the world, not having life shut off abruptly, or pondering a life well lived, is what consumes the artist in this song. The practical reality of the essence of time. Making good use of the allotted time, not the timeliness of it all, not the tragedy. More in the vein of it's the end of the world, so, let's do this right, let's do something we enjoy, with someone for whom we care deeply. The final imagery is immensely satisfying: two lovers consumed by each other, as the world is consumed in flames, appreciating each other, holding each other's hand, lives not lived in vain, lovers who instead "touched the stars and made them rain, just you and me."


buy it!