A Thousand Hours – Sleep (released on July 22, 2017, Vesper Records)
The second album by A Thousand Hours is here, only months after their debut album, “Endless Grey“. To call this album sophomoric would be an understatement, as we get to witness Red Collier’s sound evolution as it unfolds before our ears. (What is this kid drinking? And, can we have some?!) The talent unfurling with each track on this album easily rolls right onto the auditory palate of any one who is a fan of Guthriesque guitars with a floating, seductive reverb.
The opening track “Shipwreck“, with vocals by Ali Kellog (Sister Calypso), is a mesmerizing swirl of soft song and droning guitars. It is a beautiful opening to what you can expect when you play the album through. “Christina“, the second track on the album, is a soft thrash of overdriven guitar, dueling with two tracks of heavenly vocals. The tension is a beautiful force of resonance actually flirting with its nemesis, dissonance. The keys in the background hold everything together so well, with a slight tear at the seams, threatening to flow over. “The Stillness in the Moment” comes in so naturally after “Christina“, and that is not to say that they sound like the same song. In Stillness, the female vocals really take center stage, essentially beckoning the listener. The rhythm of the percussion is a definitely nostalgic of eighties favorite tunes that would come from the likes of The Cure and Depeche Mode.
“Bleach“, written with help of Demi Haynes (of Seashine and Two Souls) is the song I really want to see creep into the soundtrack of a Gregg Araki film. It is hauntingly choral, and chews into a place in your brain that craves imagery. Not your imagination, exactly, but a place that even your imagination cannot satisfy, unless you had synesthesia. It calls along an escapism that needs place. “The Understudy” is an auditory suspense in guitar purgatory. Collier‘s vocals threaten lower-end decibels while the guitars keep afloat a mid-to-high-range harmony. “Sleep of Angels” is a tantalizing pseudo-waltz in a placeless hollow. This could have very been an a capella track, and it would have sounded just as lulling, as they sound as though they were mixed to feature prominently so.
“Clutch” follows in this vain, but with heavier guitars and more synthesizer. This is a THE track reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins, even though Collier‘s influence is obvious at first. The beautiful thing about this is that it strays far from imitation–it is more like devotion. Collier has definitely devoted to a sound in this album, and prolonged it. The album wraps up beautifully with an homage to The Cocteau Twins with a cover of their single “Crushed“. The cover has a winding guitar that is different than the original’s weightless guitar sound. This is Collier‘s ability to spin my auditory attention span into his web. I want to know how many new listeners will journey through the sonic time machine and listen to The Cocteau Twins for the first time, thanks to A Thousand Hours.
“Sleep” does not disappoint. It is an album you can leave on in the background, or play as you conjure a cinematic daydream.
We here at Fadeawayradiate especially like that ATH’s albums have so far proven to make excellent bedroom ambiance. Alvarez, over and out.