Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Review: Sleep Station - Blood Of Our Fathers (* * *)

Sleep Station front-man David Debiak has always been driven by politics, wars, and social change, and never more so than on his new album Blood Of Our Fathers. The record is being offered for free on Air and Sea Battle with the original intention of compelling people to vote in the recent election. Though Sleep Station has previously recorded as a more complete band, Blood Of Our Fathers has the feel of a solo album for Debiak, with his acoustic guitar and slightly rusty voice as his primary weapons.

It's readily apparent on his new album (right from the cover art, actually) that Debiak has a fascination with war's effect on society. Blood Of Our Fathers doesn't so much decry all conflict as it explains and explores the struggles of those who fight and give more than anyone else can appreciate or understand. "America" contains some of the record's most pointed lyrics, like "you won't realize you were blind, and gave away everything you owned" and "you'll send your boy to die, for your freedom way of life, to become a man so he can do his part, but America will leave him in the dark." Elsewhere, soldiers fight, pray, and struggle to make sense of their life after returning home. At times, he gets too heavy-handed, but the lyrics of Blood Of Our Fathers are often stirring and occasionally memorable .

Musically, Debiak covers no new territory here, shifting from Rocky Votolato-esque folk tunes (Blood Of Our Fathers) to country-rock (America, Leads Back Home). He's sounds comfortable and proficient throughout the album and creates a few shining moments, like the melancholy, broken-hearted prayer "Oh Mary" or the simple, affecting leaving song "Can't Shake This Town." Sometimes, however, the music lacks any real melodic or emotional hook and the album starts to feel a bit mundane.

As a whole, Blood Of Our Fathers is straightforward folk-rock that is consistently enjoyable throughout. I honestly can't think of any reason why you wouldn't go and download this to check it out for yourself.