Sleepytime Gorilla Museum : of the Last Human Being

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum of the last human being review

Tony Levin of King Crimson once conceded that Sleepytime Gorilla Museum does things that King Crimson never dreamed of doing. On their first album in 17 years, that cult progressive rock band continues to live up to Levin’s claim. They have even pushed the vaudevillian sonic theatrics into even more curious corners of musical oddity on of the Last Human Being. While 2007’s In Glorious Times remains a perfect album, and the band is wise not to try to surpass the prog rock gymnastics they achieved on it, they’ve moved forward in a manner that places more emphasis on their chamber music influences, as they retain their signature creepy dissonance. 

This album and the subsequent tour the band is embarking on were crowdfunded by a devoted fanbase who eagerly welcomed their return. This frees the band from the need to live up to the expectations of a record label, and without these confines, the band can reach into even more experimental places. They are not just making weird noises simply for the sake of doing so, as these songs are crafted with an ear for strong grooves they can jam out with fluid grace. While Of the Last Human Being is perhaps not as heavy as their past work when it comes to aggressive riffing, which the songs ultimately built toward, they prove themselves capable of capturing an effective metallic tension on “The Gift,” which takes the moods established on In Glorious Times and brings textured chaos to the proceedings. They display a sublime sense of musical range with their more introspective moments of dreamy melody with songs like “Hush, Hush,” which hold the same ethereal pondering that Björk once explored. 

The only moment on this album that mostly forsakes the darkness is “Save It,” which bounces with an angular skip in its step. The group continue to display one of the most unique knacks for angular grooves on “Burn into Light,” as a Mr. Bungle-like thrashing runs as an undertone to the song. Meanwhile, bass player Dan Rathbun takes the mic on “Old Gray Heron.” As the song builds it marks the first time we hear Rathburn vocalizing more aggressively. Nils Frykdahl, who normally commands the vocal narrative, refrains from indulging in the kind of scathing screams that have marked other albums. Nor does he make use of his weird child-like falsetto, retaining the bulk of his vocals within his raspy croon, giving the album the album the feel of Tom Waits jamming with Rasputina. 

Of the Last Human Being might not be the heaviest Sleepytime Gorilla Museum album, they manage to pick up where they left off 17 years ago. The group stimulates the sense of imagination more than most bands within the sphere of progressive rock, far more than an excuse for gratuitous guitar solos or mathematics. There are some jarring grooves, but the experience is more like an amusement park ride designed by David Lynch and Tim Burton. Please keep your hands and arms inside the ride at all times.

Label: Avant Night

Year: 2024

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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum of the last human being review

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum : of the Last Human Being

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