On "Matador," their second full-length release, Arms and Sleepers return with more of their delicate electronic melodies. The duo, made up of Boston's Max Lewis and Portland's Mirza Ramic, do not wave the cape in a dramatic, glitzy attempt to entice listeners as a matador might a bull. Instead the duo is more refined as they blend delicate melodies with soft vocals and let the individual pieces flow and fuse together.
Ethereal and ambient, Arms and Sleepers' songs sound so careful and cautious. It's rare that the duo break from the dreamy meandering that floods "Matador" with soothing sounds. The wispy and delicate "Twentynine Palms" waits until the four minute mark before it apparently has an epiphany and decides the open itself up. The change is practically a different song, a new day dawning: upbeat, fuller and lusher. While most bands put vocals at the forefront of the action, Arms and Sleepers push them into the mix. The heavy pulses of the slowly wandering "The Architekt" nearly cancel the vocals out.
In the end, Arms and Sleepers slay their mythical bull on "Matador." For those with short attention spans, "Matador" can be trying. Arms and Sleepers' music seems tailor made for multimedia. But where most bands would merely provide the background music to a scene or an image, Arms and Sleepers' contribution is able to hold its own and rise to garner equal respect, appreciation and importance. Indeed Arms and Sleepers' "Matador" is a soundscape all its own.