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Not Waving But Drowning - Sleep Before I Wake

Not Waving But Drowning - Sleep Before I Wake

Published:
May 21, 2011


Total plays:
11,314
Sounds like: The Decemberists, Beirut
Why do we like this?
Not Waving But Drowning may suggest a punning indifference with their name, but this Brooklyn band has a complex, delightfully addictive musical force. A Brooklyn band that can be described as steampunk, NWBD is perhaps better encompassed by their own tagline of "junkyard cabaret." With musical and stylistic nods to the debaucherous side of the turn of the century, the band refuses to be hemmed in by simple labels.

Processional, their sophomore album following 2006's Any Old Iron, combines the band's appreciation for the theatrical with an ear for the catchy "” sounds of cabaret, Americana-folk and even punk rock weave in and out of the album's 12 tracks with a fluidity that would be impossible without the musical prowess of the four band members.

Processional sounds as though it's made up of about 1,000 moving parts, not least due to the dizzying array of instruments being played (viola, banjo, whiskey bottles, and the saw, to name a few). Rather than sounding busy, however, the album acquires an intensely layered feel; tracks stand solidly alone but are even more effective as part of the cohesive whole.

It's difficult to settle on a favorite song, or to pick one that embodies the overall sound. "Thanks A Lot, Lancelot" is a tongue-in-cheek pop rock number; "Tiger Hunting" is a sexy, snake-charmer of a track that could be the soundtrack of a particular brand of brothel.

"Sleep Before I Wake," the album's opener, is a gorgeous, harmony-saturated track that the band describes as "a dark and stormy ho-down." It announces Processional's arrival with a fury of guitars and a beat that will drive itself into your core with a vengeance. You'll feel you've seen the circus, and will be ready to run away before the album's end.

Stream Processional on Not Waving But Drowning's bandcamp page.
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